Time to invest in our people, public services and infrastructure - Congress pre-budget submission

27 Aug 2019

2020 Congress Pre Budget Submisson Final

Patricia King General Secretary Congress

Ireland has a number of emerging challenges as we approach a new decade – these include Brexit; climate chaos; precarious work and inequality; housing and homelessness emergencies; a two-tier health system; the fiscal implications of a growing and aging population, and the fragility of an industrial strategy based on tax-sensitive US multinationals. In particular, the risk of a no-deal Brexit has increased since the start of this year and may now take place at the end of October.Now is the time to invest in our people, our public services, and our infrastructure. A substantial increase in productive investment is the only way we can ensure our future prosperity in a
sustainable and inclusive way.The Irish Congress of Trade Unions(Congress) advocates for a radical progressive vision for Ireland’s economy and society. In this documentwe outline a series of proposals for Budget 2020 that will start us on the journey to realising that vision. 

We will need to invest more in a wide range of different areas including in public housing, in healthcare, in childcare and education, in clean and renewable energy, and in public transport. Congress, in particular, has called for a major, local authority-led public housing programme involving the construction of at least 10,000 new homes annually as part of the phased introduction of a cost rental model that provides stable affordable tenure to all who need and want it. Public housing policy must address the twin goals of making affordable and secure
rental accommodation available to a significant share of the population, and increasing the stock of homes in well-designed, sustainable neighbourhoods, particularly for people on lower-incomes.

Achieving these goals means abandoning populist attempts to cut taxes – such policies will help overheat the economy and will actually harm workers in the long run. Indeed, we propose new taxes on capital, particularly on wealth, in order to raise money for productive social and
economic investment. Congress’s pre-budget submission will help ensure that workers, particularly
those on low pay and the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and their families receive a fairer share of the economic expansion now taking place and ensure support for the people who suffered more than most during the crisis so they can live in a flourishing life of dignity.