Poverty campaign urges tax hikes
Anti-poverty campaigners have warned the Government "this is not the time for tax cuts" and argued taxes should actually be raised in the Budget.
Launching its pre-Budget policy briefing, Social Justice Ireland (SJI) said it wants to see an extra €1.5bn in spending - funded through tax hikes.
Included in this figure is an extra €350m in health spending to support primary care teams, older people and the disabled and to tackle obesity.
The group also argued for an extra €350m investment in education, specifically targeting adult literacy, after school care and early childhood education.
It also called for a €710m investment fund for rural Ireland with investments in broadband, transport and enterprise schemes.
And as the Government has signalled it plans to cut USC in the Budget, Social Justice Ireland said it wants to see the charge increased by 3pc on all income over €100,000.
SJI director Dr Sean Healy said: "This is not the time for tax cuts. All available resources should be used to invest in addressing Ireland's major deficits, in areas such as caring, housing and poverty that affect the young, the old and most in between.
"Whilst Minister Noonan is required to frame Budget 2016 within the parameters of the EU stability and growth pact, this should not stop him from framing worthwhile, and overdue investments in society, as well as the economy."