“Our Budget presents a vision for a fairer future where all people can live affordable lives without having to constantly worry about losing their jobs, their health or their chance of finding or keeping affordable homes.”

The Social Democrats today unveiled the party’s Alternative Budget for 2019, an ambitious and fully-costed plan to help families live decent and affordable lives by driving down daily living costs and investing in public services.

The detailed proposals contained in #AffordableLives present a vision for a healthy society and a sustainable economy based on fairness, shared prosperity, dependable public services and quality infrastructure.

Speaking at the Alternative Budget launch this morning, the party’s co-leader Catherine Murphy TD said:

“Our Budget proposals are targeted at families who are struggling with the ever-increasing cost of living which is putting immense strain on household budgets. An entire generation is locked out of decent and affordable homes to buy or rent, and they don’t need Fine Gael’s empty sympathy.

“We would help struggling renters by freezing rents across the country for two years and introducing robust protections for tenants.  We would build 20,000 homes per year – instead of the government’s planned 7,500 – by making the new Land Development Agency a proper housing delivery body.

“We would end the blight of vacant sites and free up empty homes for development by bringing in punitive taxes. And we would change the law, and seek to change the Constitution if necessary, to place the public interest ahead of the interests of private land hoarders and speculators, allowing us to provide affordable housing for generations to come.”

Party co-leader Róisín Shortall TD added:

“The Social Democrats believe that by investing in decent and efficient public services and cutting the costs of daily necessities, we would put money back in people’s pockets in a very real way.

“We would invest to make childcare much more affordable for all families, cut public transport fares, develop rural broadband, make primary and secondary education truly free, reduce electricity and gas bills, and promote retro-fitting and energy efficiency in homes.

“Our capital spending plan would invest heavily in our neglected infrastructure to promote economic growth. And we would also invest in home-grown Irish businesses SMEs as a hedge against the uncertainty caused by Brexit and the wider international climate.”

Deputy Shortall said the Social Democrats are fully committed to the Sláintecare plan for a modern and dependable health service with equal access for everyone, and to reducing out of pocket costs that place a huge burden on ordinary families.

“We would kick start these reforms with a once-off €500 million transitional fund investment in 2019 to provide new primary care centres, community diagnostics, training places, increased hospital bed capacity and eHealth reforms,” she said.

The Alternative Budget’s family-focused measures include significantly increased paid and unpaid parental leave, a new Early Years payment to cover children from the end of paid parental leave to entry to preschool, and €100 million in additional funding for the Affordable Childcare Scheme in 2019

“Our Budget presents a vision for a fairer future where all people can live affordable lives without having to constantly worry about losing their jobs, their health or their chance of finding or keeping affordable homes,” Deputy Shortall concluded.

The Social Democrats’ Alternative Budget would raise €1.25 billion in revenue through targeted measures including a phased increase in the VAT rate for the hospitality sector, corporate tax reforms, a new plastics levy and an increase in the banking levy.

ENDS

4th October 2018

Download the SocDems’ Alternative Budget 2019 #AffordableLives (PDF)