A local TD has labelled the government’s decision to vote down a Sinn Fein proposal for an emergency budget as ‘disappointing’.
Brian Stanley made the comments after the proposal was rejected by the Dail last night.
Instead, the government won a counter-motion by 69 votes to 59, which said there’ll be a comprehensive package in October’s Budget.
Reacting to the outcome, Deputy Stanley fears the decision ‘leaves many low- and middle-income households in an awful crisis’.
Speaking in the Dáil, he said: “Our proposals would provide much-needed supports for workers and families, who deserve and need a break.
“It is projected the State will take in €5.6 billion more in tax revenue this year than was expected when budget 2022 was framed. Sinn Féin is calling for €874 million to go into an emergency budget.
“Workers have been hit by transport costs and the rising cost of home heating oil.
“As the Minister of State knows, transport costs are affecting workers who have to travel long distances to work the most, including workers in counties Laois and Offaly.
“Our emergency budget is targeted and would reduce excise duty on petrol and diesel and remove excise from home heating oil completely.
“It would provide a once-off cash payment for low- and middle-income workers, increase the minimum wage and ensure low-paid workers get fuel allowance.
“It would cut childcare fees by 33% and increase the back to school allowance for children. It would also increase pension payments by €7.50 per week and provide renters with a tax refund of one month’s rent.
“The Government must move now to help renters, which the Minister of State has not done so far. Our emergency budget is fully costed and is only giving workers back a share of their contribution to the economy.
“Big business seldom wastes a good crisis. Last year, GDP hit an all-time high of €404 billion. The volume of goods and services produced has increased massively, in spite of the Covid crisis and the war in Ukraine.
“I acknowledge that both those events are having an economic effect. We understand that. However, despite GDP skyrocketing last year, ordinary citizens have seen a huge reduction in their spending power.
“Has all the wealth disappeared? No, it has not. What we are witnessing is a massive transfer of wealth from the workers who produce it to a smaller and smaller wealthy elite that extracts more and more out of the economy. Our emergency budget is an attempt to address some of that imbalance.
“The Government cannot continue to ignore the cost-of-living crisis and the ever-increasing struggle of the workers and families its members meet every week.
“It is a fact that we have one of the highest mortgage interest rates in Europe, some of the highest gas and electricity prices, sky-high rents and childcare costs that have gone through the roof. These issues cannot be ignored.
“The Minister of State is correct that these matters would normally be dealt with by way of the budgetary process, but we are not in normal times. We need an emergency budget, and we need it now.”