Speech at the Launch of Labour's Budget - Building An Ireland That Works For All
22 September 2022
I am here today with Labour colleagues to introduce the Labour Budget – our alternative proposals for Budget 2023.
We face an unprecedented series of crises – in the cost of living, in energy and in housing, with increasing numbers of households facing stark choices between heating and eating this winter and up to half of all households likely to be in energy poverty.
Right now, Ireland is just not working – for far too many people.
And we face the frightening prospect that if urgent measures are not taken to get us through the bleak winter ahead, our communities and our society will fracture beyond repair.
So - to address this really frightening prospect, as part of our overall Budget proposals, we in Labour are calling today for an emergency cost-of-living package totalling 4 Billion Euro.
We need Government to step up next week with a radical Budget of that scale and level of ambition - in order to address the really serious and severe levels of hardship faced by many households, families and businesses.
These crises have been exacerbated by Russian’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and international factors; but many of the measures to address the crises and support communities are within the power of this Government at national level.
Just as we saw urgent, ambitious and radical State-led measures rolled out to get us all through the Covid-19 Pandemic, so now we need to see the Government adopt similarly urgent, ambitious and radical measures in next Tuesday’s Budget.
In our Labour proposals, we have put forward measures that would support the building of an Ireland that Works for All.
An Ireland that is genuinely equal – in which we address the Paradox of Plenty.
Because we are a wealthy country, judging by our macro economic figures reflected in the massive 6.5 Billion Exchequer surplus figure.
But the challenge we are putting to this Government is this:
Now is the time to see Government taking, investing and redistributing the wealth that has been generated by the hard work of so many.
We need to see Government building an Ireland that Works for All.
Our Budget proposals represent a constructive, creative and radical plan to ensure a more equal Ireland, an Ireland that works.
My colleagues will speak in more detail now about our proposals but I want to set out again three of the key emergency measures that we are calling on the Government to introduce NOW to address the real hardships faced by so many this winter.
- Introduction of cap on childcare costs at €200 per month per child
to help parents for whom early years care amounts to a second mortgage or monthly rent payment.
- Introduction of a €9 monthly “climate ticket”
Unlimited public transport journeys anywhere in Ireland for just €9 per month.
- Immediate extension of free GP care to all children and young people under the age of 18
to avoid the unconscionable situation some parents find themselves in where cost makes them think twice about bringing a sick child to the family doctor.
Politics is always about choices.
Budget Day is just 5 days away and the Government has lots of choices to make.
We in Labour are calling on Government now to take the radical, creative and ambitious choices that are necessary to Build an Ireland that Works – for All.