Dáil debates

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Financial Resolutions - Budget Statement 2020


5:35 pm

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance) | Oireachtas source

This is where all the extra money being crowed about by the Minister of State is going. The number of real council houses being built is abysmal and everything else is money going out the door into the pockets of NAMA developers that have been rehabilitated, vulture and cuckoo funds and big corporate landlords. They are making a killing.

This budget has nothing about rents. What has been done to control the out-of-control rents? Nothing. The Government refuses to do it. It has refused to impose rent controls, which are a standard practice all across Europe, with local authorities or rental sector regulators setting rents at affordable levels. It means landlords cannot charge more than a certain level for a property. That is how rents can be controlled instead of rent pressure zones that landlords can find their way around in any event. They have completely failed to address the rental crisis.

There are many victims of the Government's failed policies but we should single out young people in particular as a group that has been failed at so many levels with this budget. They have been failed on climate change, as the planet is burning and the Government is doing nothing about it. The cost of accommodation is absolutely out of control and completely unaffordable. The cost of educating oneself is beyond reach for many young people. They are being shafted and nothing is being done for them with this budget.

What are the positive actions that could have been taken with matters like climate change to protect the future of our young people? Instead of implementing a regressive and unfair carbon tax, the Government could and should have introduced free public transport. It should have brought the level of public subsidy for public transport in this country at least to the average level of the European Union, as we are well below it. Luxembourg has already introduced free public transport and, again, it is hardly a bastion of radical socialism. It is available in Estonia and certain cities in Europe. In almost every part of Europe, public transport fares are far below what they are here. We are an outlier, along with the United Kingdom. Somebody told me recently that a person could go anywhere in a particular eastern European country for approximately 50 cent. I cannot remember the country but it was somewhere like Czechoslovakia. It was dirt cheap compared with here.


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