The Cost of Living Crisis is having a devastating effect on households and communities across Ireland. It has coincided with a deepening housing crisis with unaffordable rents and house prices and unprecedented levels of homelessness now surpassing pre-Covid levels.
The crisis for the vast majority of households is in stark contrast to a spectacular growth in wealth and incomes of the richest in our society, some of whom are benefiting from the gross profiteering that is fuelling the Cost of Living Crisis. The Cost of Living Crisis also demonstrates the urgent necessity of supporting households to reduce both their energy use and their bills and to contribute to a genuinely just transition in the vital challenge of addressing the climate emergency.
Most importantly, the combined cost of living, housing and climate emergencies expose existential system failure with a market based economy dominated by the competitive drive for profit.
People Before Profit’s Budget for 2023 is premised on the need for fundamental system change to a society and economy based on human need and the protection of our planet.
The Cost of Living Crisis has four main elements:
• Historically high price levels in Ireland particularly for housing;
• Inadequate provision for the social wage which means that households pay for many social services available freely in other countries;
• Escalating and historically high levels of inflation arising mainly from increasing energy costs;
• Rising interests rates.
People Before Profit is proposing a series of measures to immediately control costs, deliver affordable housing and protect peoples’ incomes from rising inflation. It is also proposing measures to enhance the social wage and ensure the vital services people require are accessible and affordable to those who need them.
People Before Profit also believes that the current crisis has demonstrated the need to dramatically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. We therefore propose a series of measures to reduce energy costs and ramp up investment in renewables.
In total we propose to spend €32.5 billion.
To pay for this we are proposing to raise significant additional revenue from those in our society who have most. We want to significantly widen the tax base to ensure corporations, employers, the wealthy and high earners pay the taxes we need to ensure greater equality by providing the services people need free at the point of use and so we can take the climate mitigation and adaptation measures needed to reduce Ireland’s carbon emissions through a just transition.
Our revenue measures will raise an additional €25.5 billion. This alone with resources available to the government gives us €34 billion.
Among the key measure we propose are:
1. Reduce Energy Costs
• Cap energy prices and nationalise energy sector
• €1000 Electricity Credit for Principle Private Residence
• Extend Fuel Allowance
2. Address Housing and Homelessness Emergency
• Double provision of social and affordable housing
• Stop Evictions into homelessness through buying HAP and RAS tenancies
• Rent reductions to 25% of median income
• Increase HAP limits to match rents
3. Protect Incomes
• Bring all social welfare benefits above poverty line including a cost of disability premium
• Increase public sector pay by 10% and index link tax allowances
• Introduce a living wage
• Increase grants and supports for all under and post graduates
• Restore pension age to 65
4. Access to public services for all
• Abolish all fees, charges and contributions for all levels of education
• Abolish all heath related charges
• Free Childcare
• Free and frequent public transport
5. Taxing Wealth
• Introduce a wealth tax
• Increase tax take from corporations
• Windfall tax on energy companies
• Increase employers’ PRSI
• Introduce a tax on land banks and on vacant homes