Dáil debates

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Financial Resolutions 2022 - Financial Resolution No. 6: General: Financial Resolution (Resumed)


5:25 pm

Photo of Johnny MythenJohnny Mythen (Wexford, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I commend the justice budget, which will go a long away towards protecting communities. I will speak generally on the budget itself. Much has been said about this budget during the last day or so. However, there are flaws in the analysis in tackling the cost of living and the rise in inflation. For example, the €12 increase in the State pension and welfare payments will not cover inflation. In real terms, there will be a real drop of 8.1% in the pension rate between 2021 and 2023. Our proposals would have given people who are living on their own €17.50 per week and €15 per week as standard. Even though the tax bands have been widened, take-home pay will fall substantially in 2023. Again, the buffer against inflation is insufficient. Some 1.8 million workers will not gain one cent from these tax changes. In fact, the Government’s idea of fairness always is skewed towards the top earners and it leaves the rest to shuffle the crumbs in the best way they can. A person who is earning €35,000 will get €190, while a person who is earning €130,000 will get €830. We should all remember these are the same people whose taxes bailed out the banks and restored the economy.

We live in the most uncertain times. Security and stability are key to a prosperous and healthy society. We are told that Putin is holding Europe to ransom on energy and gas prices. Surely, then, the energy companies are doing the same to our own economy. Therefore, we want an immediate introduction of a windfall tax and the capping of electricity bills at 2021 levels until February 2023.

This would give security to many families and small businesses who manage their finances on a weekly and monthly basis. We believe the three €200 once-off payments will be swallowed up by inflation and the inevitable increases of energy bills.

On the rental sector, introducing the €500 tax credit without the follow-up of a rent cap will result in many rents spiralling upwards once again. My county of Wexford has experienced rent increases of 17%, which is almost on a par with the increase in city rents. Yet, we are not considered to be a rent pressure zone. This budget has done nothing to help the citizens who are earning just above the threshold to qualify for social housing, and not earning enough to secure a mortgage. With an €11 billion spend available in the budget, the Government could have at least raised the threshold to give some real hope to those families and individuals who find themselves lost in despair and trapped in the battle to provide a roof over their heads.


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