Oireachtas Members Urged to Consider Budget Alternatives

Oireachtas Members Urged to Consider Budget Alternatives

The 17 member Community and Voluntary Pillar of Social Partnership (of which The Wheel is a member) briefed politicians in Dublinon Wednesday 6 October on how the Government can best develop an integrated national recovery strategy. The CV Pillar’s recommendations have already been presented to Government as a pre-budget submission.

At the briefing, the Pillar highlighted a five-point integrated recovery strategy, consisting of a combination of the following:

  • Increasing the tax take while keeping Irelanda low tax country (through broadening and deepening the tax base and addressing tax-breaks as recommended by the Commission on Taxation).
  • Securing better value for money in the delivery of our public services.
  • Reforming the public sector (by implementing the recommendations contained in the report of the OECD).
  • Targeted expenditure cuts where required but ensure that vulnerable people are protected. A good starting point would be the elimination of waste identified in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s reports.
  • Focusing expenditure on the common good to provide required infrastructure and public services.

“We had an opportunity to explain to our politicians that our social services must be protected in this current climate and that those who can afford it should pay more, as part of an integrated approach to recovery."

Ivan Cooper of The Wheel and Chairman of the Pillar Group said, “It was important to meet directly with our political representatives and highlight our views and indeed our five point plan for an integrated recovery. Vulnerable people and people experiencing discrimination and inequality have already been severely affected by cutbacks on much needed services and supports. These people, who had no hand act or part in creating the current economic downturn, are paying too high a price in Government plans for recovery - and this must be addressed.”

Dr Seán Healy, Director, Social Justice Ireland said, “We had an opportunity to explain to our politicians that our social services must be protected in this current climate and that those who can afford it should pay more, as part of an integrated approach to recovery. Ireland’s total tax take is one of the lowest in the developed world and it continues to fall as a percentage of national income. There are many tax breaks in the present system which the Commission on Taxation recommended should be adjusted or abolished. Tax breaks, as we have stressed previously, are a recognised Government expenditure, which benefit a small minority who are better off - and should be abolished or adjusted as the Commission proposed.”

The 17 members of the Pillar Group fully accept the gravity of the current crisis in regard to economic contraction, job losses, collapsed tax revenue and growing debt – but we also believe that ‘cost cutting’, which is very much on the agenda, will impact most heavily on the vulnerable and this is not a just and equitable solution.

Please contact ivan@wheel.ie for more information on the CV Pillar’s five point integrated plan for social and economic recovery