Social Democrats propose cap on childcare costs
A cap on childcare costs, the delivery of 3,000 new teachers and the abolition of water charges are among the measures proposed by the newly formed Social Democrats ahead of today's Budget.
The party, which has three TDs and one senator, said the ideal budget would dedicate the entire €1.5bn available to services in sectors such as education and healthcare.
The party said it would also cut the deeply unpopular Universal Social Charge (USC) by just half a per cent and would also reduce property tax for mortgage holders.
A tax on junk food would be introduced and the party has also proposed a levy on AIB pensions.
The Social Democrats' pre-budget submission pledges to deliver 3,000 additional teachers, as well as 900 healthcare workers.
A major focus relates to childcare.
The party says it would extend parental leave by 10 weeks at a cost of €54m.
Speaking yesterday, Wicklow TD Stephen Donnelly said the focus in the Budget should be on investing in services.
"These services require significant investment and for that reason we have committed 100pc of the €1.5bn available this year for investment in services," he said.
In relation to Irish Water, Mr Donnelly claimed that the overall cost of abolishing water charges would total €136m.
But he said that once the €100 water conservation grant is scrapped and the administration of bills is removed, the cost of scrapping water charges would come in at just €13m.
His party colleagues - Róisín Shortall and Catherine Murphy - said their Budget would reduce people's cost of living.
"What we're talking about is investing in services so that the cost of living is reduced," Ms Shortall added.