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Sinn Féin proposes increasing taxes on people earning over €100,000 and the abolition of the Help to Buy Scheme


Pearse Doherty

Pearse Doherty

Pearse Doherty

SINN Féin has proposed increasing taxes on people earning over €100,000 and the abolition of the Help to Buy Scheme to fund the phasing out of the local property tax, and a €5 increase in the weekly State pension.

The party’s alternative budget sets out plans for €1.5bn in additional new spending next year on top of what the Government is already proposing, including a €610m welfare package to increase the weekly State pension by €5 and increasing all working age welfare payments by €10.

It also promises to deliver 20,000 social and affordable homes a year and to recruit an additional 6,250 additional staff for the health service to staff 932 additional beds.

The proposals presented at a press conference in Dublin on Thursday also include restoring the pension age to 65 at a cost of €127m and introducing free fares on public transport for under 18s over the next two budgets as well as expanding the bus fleet at a cost of €49.5m.

A rent freeze and a refundable tax credit amounting to one month’s rent are also proposed along with a plan to phase out Local Property Tax starting with a 20pc reduction in 2022 while replacing the income for local authorities at a cost of €97m.

Amid rising energy bills, Sinn Féin is also proposing to extend the fuel allowance season by two weeks and provide an extra €30m to expand fuel allowance eligibility. Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said this would benefit an extra 37,000 families and that the package would be of an equivalent value to what is being proposed by other parties.

Defending the decision not to advocate for an increase in the weekly payment, Mr Doherty argued that the legally binding €7.50 per tonne increase in the carbon tax - which Sinn Féin opposes - amounts to “trickery” as it “takes with one hand gives with the other”.

The party’s public expenditure spokesperson Mairead Farrell also set out plans to abolish prescription charges for those over 70 and phase out prescription charges for under 70s over three years.

To fund new spending, Mr Doherty set out plans to remove tax credits on a tapered basis on incomes above €100,000 to raise €232m.

A 3pc increase in income tax on incomes above €140,000 is also proposed in what the party describes as a “solidarity tax”.

Sinn Féin wants to abolish the Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) which provides a tax breaks to senior multinational firm executives to save €42 million.

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A 40pc capital gains tax rate on individual incomes above €500,000 and a second home charge of €400 are also proposed as well as a wealth tax at a rate of 1pc on net wealth held above €100,000.

The removal of the Help to Buy Scheme at a cost of €126m is also proposed. Mr Doherty said the scheme for first-time buyers had failed, describing it as a “ wasting taxpayers’ money” and pushing up house prices.

Mr Doherty claimed that Government plans to index-link tax bands in next week’s budget would not benefit two-third of workers. 

Meanwhile, the Social Democrats' alternative budget proposes a €10 increase in the State pension and weekly core social welfare rates. It also sets out plans to expand access to the fuel allowance from 28 weeks to 32 weeks and double the Exceptional and Urgent Needs Scheme.

The party's pre-budget document also proposes to build 20,000 social, affordable, and cost-rental homes; a new affordable childcare model; a free education system; a €6bn Green Transformation Fund, and to implement Sláintecare.

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