Press Release Thursday November 15th
Civil Society Group highlights at pre-Budget launch today potential to raise €6.9bn in taxation on wealth and higher income & calls on Government to protect welfare and services in Budget 2013
The civil society movement, Claiming Our Future, is calling on the Government to implement alternative policies than is outlined for the upcoming Budget. Claiming Our Future has identified a ‘Plan B’ menu of revenue raising options and stimulus investment proposals available to the government.
Claiming Our Future has identified, from Pre-Budget submissions from social justice groups, economic think tanks and trade unions, a total of €6.9bn which could potentially be raised from various forms of taxation on wealth and corporations and removing reliefs that benefit higher income earners. This is almost double the €3.5bn the government is proposing to raise taxes and cut spending in the Budget. Analysis of these submissions outlined in a pre-Budget launch today, highlights, that the Government, could, if it made the choice, avoid any cuts to spending on public and community/voluntary services and welfare in the upcoming budget.
This will be detailed at a press conference organised by Claiming Our Future, today, Thursday, November 15th at 10.30am in the Gresham Hotel, O Connell St.
Siobhan O Donoghue, Claiming Our Future Plan B
Marie Sherlock, Economist with SIPTU
Dr. Rory Hearne, Claiming Our Future Plan B
Michael Taft, Economist with Unite
Fergus Finlay, CEO Barnardos
Photo Opportunity: Attendees will be holding the image of austerity -there is a plan B
Dr Rory Hearne,spokesperson for the Group said: “Some of the options to raise revenue from wealth and higher incomes that are available to the Government include: up to€660 million from taxing wealth (wealth tax plus raising capital gains and capital acquisitions tax), up to €1bn from raising income taxes (such as an increase of 1.5% on the effective tax rate of the top 20% of tax cases ) and extending the USC of 3% to incomes in excess of €100,000, up to €557million from abolishing tax reliefs on property and up to €1.4bn from abolishing and standardising various pension reliefs. We are calling on the Government, therefore, to focus the adjustment in the Budget on taxing wealth and higher incomes. The current approach is deeply unfair as it is hardest on those on middle and lower incomes. The unemployment crisis combined with reports on the extent of food poverty and those in mortgage stress and unable to meet their bills shows that too many are already suffering. The current austerity programme is also destroying our health, education, welfare, transport, social care, community, youth and voluntary services - the social and economic fabric of our nation.
Siobhan O Donoghue, spokesperson for the Group, said; “Our analysis of the Pre-Budget proposals reveals that all the organisations are calling for a different ratio of spending cuts to revenue raising than the government is proposing. The organisations call for increased emphasis on revenue raising focused on higher income earners and wealth. The organisations also call for a stimulus investment in infrastructure ranging from €1bn to €3bn. €1bn of investment would have the potential to create 10,000 jobs.
The reality is that the Government can decide on what balance of expenditure cuts and tax it implements, along with what areas this takes place in. Furthermore, the Troika is primarily concerned with the deficit reduction and not the specific policy choices that achieve that. They are up to the discretion of the Government. Austerity is self defeating in a recession like our current one. Cutting spending on welfare, public services and the wages of public sector workers and raising taxes on lower and middle income households takes further money out of the economy and thus reduces further domestic demand and growth and puts more people out of work –thus requiring higher spending on welfare. We are in a vicious downward spiral that requires an alternative policy approach. We have developed an alternative Budget approach -a Plan B - which is based on the economic framework of taxing higher incomes and wealth and thus maintain spending on public services, and a jobs stimulus investment to create much needed employment. These alternative Budget proposals will be more equal and support domestic demand, central to getting us out of the recession, by protecting low and middle income earners and communities. Social investment will save social costs and create a more sustainable future.”
Claiming Our Future is calling on the public to take action by signing the petition on our website–www.claimingourfuture.ie - which calls on the Government to implement Plan B in Budget 2013– which would place the burden of adjustment on the sections of society who can afford to pay more - rather than inflicting unbearable pain on lower and middle income sections of our society.
For more information contact Rory Hearne, or Siobhan O Donoghue, or www.claimingourfuture.ie
 These include TASC, NERI, ICTU, Social Justice Ireland and UNITE