Tuesday, 8 October 2019
Financial Resolutions - Budget Statement 2020
Alan Kelly (Tipperary, Labour)
There would also be a standard daily fare.
In terms of retrofitting, there is already a one-year waiting list for the warmer homes scheme. What is being proposed is a laugh. We should be retrofitting all public buildings. I proposed something that was ignored - start with our schools and other educational facilities in a way that would demonstrate and show leadership. Of course, that will not happen. It is clear that the Government does not fully get the retrofitting concept. The impact that large-scale, nationwide retrofitting would have, particularly in rural areas, would be massive. This is a missed opportunity.
I welcome that funding is being ring-fenced for the midlands in respect of the Bord na Móna workers who are losing their jobs. A few hundred workers at a Bord na Móna factory in Littleton lost their jobs last year. I had to help a Chinese company, the Sabrina Manufacturing Group, to work with Bord na Móna on recycling plastic goods at the factory. Employment is being provided through work that others and I have done. I presume that the people of Littleton and its surrounds in Tipperary who worked in Thurles or still work in related Bord na Móna factories are also covered by this scheme. Surely the Government would not discriminate against the people of Littleton and Tipperary more widely versus people from elsewhere in the midlands. I am sure they are covered, but the Minister of State might check the details for me.
Regarding taxation, I welcome the changes in commercial stamp duty, but massive profits are being made. We can see that all around the country. All one has to do is buy a newspaper. The asking prices alone are colossal. We could have gone further in that regard. I welcome the changes in respect of micro-breweries, a small industry about which I am passionate. This will allow the industry to grow. Obviously, we are far too dependent on corporation tax.
I introduced the vacant site levy and our Government brought it through. It should be increased. Its administration has to change. Not only does it take way too long, but there are too many loopholes, with people able to get out of it year after extra year. This is not acceptable, particularly given that so many of the sites in question are needed for housing in the main but also commercial schemes.
In terms of Brexit, the funding the Government has provided to business is not enough. Communication around the schemes to help SMEs has been atrocious. Just look at the figure for businesses taking up the various offers, for example, research and development grants. The numbers are pitiful because the schemes' administration is too cumbersome and communication about their nature and how they work for specific sectors is brutal and not detailed enough. That needs to change.
I believed that the Government would include measures in the budget to deal with something that had been the major issue of the past few months, namely, the insurance industry.