Unions seek new taxes on wealth and capital

Ictu pre-budget call for ditching of tax cut proposals, and health and house spending

Ictu secretary general Patricia King: “Now is the time to invest in our people, our public services and our infrastructure.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Ictu secretary general Patricia King: “Now is the time to invest in our people, our public services and our infrastructure.” Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Trade unions have urged the Government to abandon plans for tax cuts and instead to raise new taxes on capital and wealth to fund investments in housing, health, education and social welfare initiatives.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) in a pre-budget submission urges the Government to put in place reforms to capital taxation and to the system of tax expenditures to generate almost €500 million next year.

The trade union movement is seeking the introduction of a new tax on net wealth which would raise €375 million as well as reforms to capital acquisitions tax and to the system of tax expenditures, which it says could realise €100 million.

Ictu also proposes in the submission that employer’s PRSI should be raised to 13.75 per cent on excess of incomes above €100,000.

It also suggests that the Government should begin the process of increasing PRSI for “class-S contributors “ which includes farmers, professionals, certain company directors, people in business on their own or in partnerships as well as people with income from investments, rents or maintenance payments.

Raising PRSI

It suggests that their PRSI rates should be raised “in order to bring them closer to the costs of the benefits they receive and stand to gain under any extension of benefits to such contributors”.

Ictu believes that together these measures could generate €250 million.

Ictu also proposed raising online betting tax as well as increasing excise on tobacco, diesel, packaging and single-use plastics. It believes these measures could generate more than €200 million.

The congress has also called for nearly €3 billion in additional expenditure.

It urges the Government to increase social welfare rates by an amount greater than expected inflation in 2020 with additional increases for households more at risk as well as “to reverse the most regressive cuts imposed during the crisis, and pay the Christmas bonus to all social welfare recipients, long-term and short-term”.

Pension age

Ictu suggests also that the qualifying age for the contributory pension should be lowered for workers who entered employment at a young age and who have had a long working life. It calls on the Government to establish a short-time work scheme and a Brexit adjustment assistance fund to maximise sustainable employment and amend the European globalisation adjustment fund to allow it to support workers made redundant as a result of Brexit.

The union movement also calls 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”.

It also wants the Government to provide an additional €600 million in funding for primary and community care and to implement the Sláintecare reforms plans.

Ictu general secretary Patricia King said: “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.”