Budget 2021: Sinn Féin says ‘now is not the time for fiscal conservatism’

Party would spend €5.3bn more than Government plans to, partly funded by new tax measures

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said his party would provide 1,100 additional hospital beds and 100 more intensive care (ICU) beds at a cost of some €449.7 million. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said his party would provide 1,100 additional hospital beds and 100 more intensive care (ICU) beds at a cost of some €449.7 million. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

 

Sinn Féin would spend €5.3 billion more than the Government plans to in Budget 2021, arguing that “now is not the time for fiscal conservatism”.

In its alternative budget proposal, Sinn Féin says the extra spending would be partially covered by the introduction of “progressive tax measures”.

These include levying a 3 per cent “solidarity tax” next year on individual incomes above €140,000, rising to 5 per cent in 2022, and removing tax credits on a tapered basis from individual incomes above €100,000.

The party also says it would introduce a new rate of employers’ PRSI on incomes above €100,000, starting at 12.05 per cent next year. It has also said it would raise €720 million by putting an 80 per cent cap on “capital allowances claimed against intangible assets on-shored by multinationals since 2015”.

“This increase in current spending would be partially funded by progressive tax measures worth €1.5 billion, bringing net additional current expenditure to €3.8 billion,” Sinn Féin says in the document.

“Now is not the time for fiscal conservatism, which will only increase unemployment, lengthen the recession and damage the ability of our economy to recover quickly.

“Sinn Féin’s proposals would be funded through sustainable borrowing and the introduction of progressive tax measures that contribute towards our national recovery as we build a better future, building on the solidarity that has been shown in our families and communities.”

Unemployment payment

Were it in Government, Sinn Féin says it would reverse cuts to the pandemic unemployment payment and introduce a “wage support scheme” costing €1.5 billion. The party has also promised a once-off reduction in Vat - from 13.5 per cent to 9 per cent - for sectors affected by Covid-19 such as hospitality and a commercial rates waiver until June.

Outlining the measures on Friday, Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said his party would provide 1,100 additional hospital beds and 100 more intensive care (ICU) beds at a cost of some €449.7 million.

The proposal also pledges to recruit an additional 2,500 doctors, nurses, consultants and allied health professionals to staff hospitals and give current workers a break at a cost of €150 million.

On housing, Sinn Féin promises to build 12,000 social homes, 4,000 affordable rental homes and 4,000 affordable purchase homes, at an additional cost of €1.5 billion.