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Brian Stanley: What Sinn Féin would do to give workers and families a break and to build proper public services

TD housing
Brian Stanley

Sinn Féin and others stopped Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and Green Party plans to impose water charges.

These four parties also supported the recent increase in carbon tax from €20 to €26 per tonne and committed to increasing it to €80! This will mean huge price hikes for motor and home fuels without people having affordable alternatives.

Despite being one of the richest countries, successive FF/FG governments have failed to use that wealth to build proper public services and tackle inequality. Sinn Féin has costed proposals to give workers and families a break:

These include: 

  • Equalising Tax Credits for the self employed with PAYE sector.
  • Take those under €30,000 income out of the USC net
  • Increase Living Wage to €12.30 per hour
  • A 3 year Rent Freeze and an 8.5% tax credit on rent for private rented accommodation.
  • Sinn Fein Bill to prevent F.F, FG and Labour increasing pension age to 68
  • Lowering fuel bills by extending home energy savings grants.
  • No increase in Carbon Tax & phase out family home tax (LPT).
  • 2 free GP visits per annum for those without a medical card.
  • Reduce Childcare costs by €100 average per month.
  • Back to School Bonus of €140 per child for all families.
  • Extend School Book Rental Scheme to all Schools.
  • Reduce 3rd level Student Contribution Charge by €500.
  • End Motor Tax instalment penalties.

How would you tackle the insurance rip off?

The crippling cost of insurance is placing a huge burden on motorists, householders and businesses. SF and our Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty are to the forefront of tackling this rip off.

  • We are demanding the establishment of a Fraud Unit to tackle fraudulent claims and reduce cost of cover.
  • SF would abolish the government levies charged on premiums.
  • Pearse Doherty forced the Central Bank to carry out an investigation into sharp practices by insurance companies.
  • Sinn Fein’s Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill will end dual pricing on loyal customers and increase transparency.

What would Sinn Féin do to create employment?

Creating good quality jobs is an absolute priority for Sinn Féin. We have one of the highest rates (23%) of low paid jobs in the EU. Laois has in the past been neglected by the IDA, which Brian has consistently highlighted.

Sinn Féin proposals include:

  •  A living wage of €12.30 per hour with an opt out clause for firms who prove inability to pay it.
  • Opening up procurement on government projects to smaller firms.
  •  Expanding the renewable energy sector
  •  Greater IDA action on investment in Laois.
  • Retention of the 12.5% corporation tax rate.
  • End practise of employing agency workers in the public sector and employ them directly, it’s over 30% cheaper!

What is Sinn Féin’s plan for Portlaoise Hospital?

In October 2017 I exposed details of the plan to close the Emergency Department (ED) and downgrade Portlaoise. The huge public campaign that followed forced the Government to pause the process.

However, the commitment given by the Health Minister in December 2017 to carry out a consultation process on Portlaoise never happened.

I expressed concerns then this may be just a delaying tactic to get Government parties over another election, without giving any firm commitment on Portlaoise. Unfortunately this has come to pass.

SF is committed to the retention and upgrade of services in Portlaoise. Retention of the emergency department which is essential to retaining other key services in the hospital and we are committed to getting a plan for the future development of the hospital.

What would Sinn Féin do on housing?

The unprecedented housing crisis is one of the worst legacies of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael policies.

Year one in government Sinn Féin would:

  • Build an additional (to those promised by government) 8,700 council homes to rent.
  • Build affordable to purchase homes.
  • Introduce a 3 year Rent Freeze and an 8.5% tax relief for renters.
  • Enact our legislation to prevent banks selling mortgages to vulture funds without consent of borrowers.

What would Sinn Féin do to tackle climate change?

Sinn Féin wants to end our reliance (90%) on imported fossil fuels and redirect investment into renewable energy. We must also improve public transport and end the massive volumes of waste been produceOur proposals would create jobs and include:

  • Reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels and reducing CO2 emissions.
  • Developing renewable energy sources such as: solar, biomass, biogas, offshore wind turbines and hydro.
  • Involving Bord na Mona and ESB in major renewable energy projects in the Midlands.
  • Reducing volume of waste produced and increasing reuse and re-cycling.
  • Increasing tree planting, protecting hedge rows and rewetting our bogs for carbon sequestration.
  • Extending public transport provision and more cycle routes

SEE ALSO – Check out all of LaoisToday’s 2020 General Election coverage

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