Tuesday 17 January 2017

Howlin calls for better services, not tax cuts

Published 07/10/2016 | 02:30

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin (right) with TD Sean Sherlock (left) and Senator Ged Nash pass a homeless person on their way to the launch of the party’s alternative Budget 2017 in Dublin’s Merrion Square. Photo: Tom Burke
Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin (right) with TD Sean Sherlock (left) and Senator Ged Nash pass a homeless person on their way to the launch of the party’s alternative Budget 2017 in Dublin’s Merrion Square. Photo: Tom Burke

Tax cuts that "barely cover the cost of a cup of coffee per week" are a poor substitute for investment in better services, Labour leader Brendan Howlin has said.

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Mr Howlin, who jointly presented last year's Budget as Public Expenditure Minister, was launching his party's alternative Budget 2017. It proposes €1.74bn in extra spending with 70pc on current and 30pc on capital spending and tax cuts for self-employed workers only.

The Social Democrat Party also launched its Budget proposals with €330m in measures aimed at reducing the cost of living and more than €1bn in extra capital investment. Catherine Murphy, one of its two TDs, said people wanted housing and health problems dealt with.

For Labour, former Social Protection Minister Joan Burton urged her successor Leo Varadkar to fully restore the Christmas bonus, which last year she restored by 75pc.

Mr Howlin said increasing the supply of houses would help first-time buyers - but a tax scheme wouldn't.

Labour proposes €177m for childcare provision, an extra €5 per week for pensioners and restoration of dental benefits for workers.

For the Social Democrats, Ms Murphy said cutting the cost of living put money back into people's pockets rather than small tax cuts.

Irish Independent

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