Govt should abandon plans for tax cuts in upcoming Budget – ICTU
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has said the Government should abandon its plans for tax cuts in the upcoming Budget and instead prioritise increases in public expenditure on housing, healthcare and childcare.
In its pre-budget submission, ICTU says permanent tax cuts are unaffordable and unjustified.
ICTU says the pandemic has shown that basic services and the welfare state have shown themselves to be the indispensable bedrocks of people’s economic well-being.
It welcomes the Government’s decision not to pursue an austerity strategy in the years ahead. However, it wants priority given to expenditure on housing, health, childcare and education and believes planned tax cuts should be abandoned.
It proposes that the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme should become a permanent scheme to support employment in industries going through temporary downturns.
It suggests employers’ PRSI should be increased as a part of reforms to address what it describes as “chronically low levels of Government revenue in Ireland”. However, it says this should only begin when the economy is in recovery.
ICTU also wants to make bogus self-employment a criminal offence.
Its pre-budget submission says job losses during the pandemic were concentrated amongst lower skilled workers, young workers and part-time workers.
It says the crisis showed up “weaknesses in Ireland’s pre-pandemic economic model” and that there should be no going back to the “old low tax and low spend model”.
It suggests the Brexit Adjustment Reserve be used to retrain workers.
ICTU also wants the minimum wage to be raised to €10.50 an hour from January as part of a commitment to reach the Living Wage of €12.30 an hour.
It says social welfare rates should be given an above inflation rate increase.
It is recommending that the Government introduces statutory paid training leave for all workers.
It also says any business which avails of Government support schemes should be bound by commitments to labour laws and to promote collective bargaining.