Social Justice Ireland calls for investment in infrastructure instead of tax cuts

There's a call on the Government not to bring in tax cuts in Budget 2019.

Social Justice Ireland says small tax cuts of €2 or €3 per week aren't much use to people paying record-level rents.

Instead, it wants the state to invest in our social infrastructure and give priority to tackling our housing crisis.

“Ireland now has the resources to ensure that Budget 2019 addresses the key challenges facing Irish people. The question is whether Government has the political courage to invest in our social infrastructure and give priority to tackling our housing crisis, reforming the healthcare system and addressing rural and regional challenges,” said Dr Seán Healy, Director of Social Justice Ireland.

Dr Seán Healy

“Ireland’s infrastructure in areas such as social housing and rural broadband is not what it should be. Our performance in areas such as child poverty, healthcare, and environmental sustainability leave a great deal to be desired. Budget 2019 is an opportunity for Government to invest in areas that will improve the quality of life for people and communities all over Ireland.”

Economic and Social Analyst Eamon Murphy added: “Most Irish people want to see an end to homelessness, hospital waiting lists and child poverty. They want to see increased investment in good quality affordable childcare, rural broadband, and much more. These should be the priority targets of Budget 2019, not the tax cuts being encouraged by some.”

“Budget 2019 has the potential to lift people out of poverty, to deliver a major breakthrough on the supply of social housing, to improve healthcare provision, and to resource communities. Our policy briefing Budget Choices 2019 makes a series of proposals on how to achieve these and much more besides. However, much of the Government’s ability to achieve all of this depends on them having the courage to resist the pressure to cut taxes.”

Their main proposals include:

    INVESTMENT PACKAGES

  • Social Housing: €1,250m, in addition to what has already been committed in Government plans, towards providing an additional 90,000 social housing units.
  • Healthcare and disability: €1,112m investment prioritising social and community care, disability, mental health and the roll out of Sláinte Care.
  • Rural/Regional Development: €505m to help complete the rollout of high-quality rural broadband, as well as additional investment in rural transport, a rural enterprise, retrofitting houses and community supports.
  • Education: €448m investment in areas such as adult literacy, DEIS, skills development and digital education.
  • Pensions: A universal pension financed by reducing tax-breaks that currently favour the better-off, and a small increase in Employer PRSI.
  • Social Welfare: €331m which includes an increase of €6.50 per week in social welfare payments and an increase in direct provision payments.
  • Children: €180m focused on Early Childhood Care and Education, paternity leave and affordable childcare.
  • ODA: An additional €136m as a contribution towards increasing the aid budget over the next seven years to the UN target of 0.7 per cent of GNI*.
  • TAX REFORM

  • Standard rate all discretionary tax expenditures: €480m
  • Standard rate tax break on all pension contributions: €483m
  • Remove tax refund element for R & D tax credits: €168m
  • Introduce a minimum effective corporate tax rate: €1,000m
  • Equalise Excise Duty on diesel and petrol: €68m
  • Increase accommodation sector VAT rate to 13.5%: €220m
  • Increase tax on in-shop and online betting by 3%: €150m

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