Independent Alliance seeks leave for workers to mind elderly parents
Independents also want Paschal Donohoe’s budget to cap all road tolls for private cars at €5 per day
Independent Alliance members Shane Ross, John Halligan and Finian McGrath. To help tackle the housing crisis they want investors buying multiple homes to pay an extra 10% of the purchase price in tax on each property. Photograph: Alan Betson
Investors buying multiple homes or apartments in new developments would be hit with a 10 per cent levy on every such property they buy under budget plans being pushed by the Independent Alliance.
The Independents also want Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe to cap all road tolls for private cars at €5 per day, introduce two weeks’ unpaid leave per year for workers to look after elderly parents, and make products that help people give up smoking – such as nicotine patches and inhalers – “free for all”.
The paper, a copy of which has been seen by The Irish Times, outlines their entire list of requests for the October budget, including Mr Ross’s controversial €1,000 “granny grant” for grandparents who provide childcare.
The document is broken down into four categories: respecting our older citizens; improving health and social care; helping workers and families; and easing the housing crisis.
To help tackle the housing crisis investors buying multiple homes would pay an extra 10 per cent of the purchase price in tax on each property.
Older people would also be incentivised to downsize from bigger homes through a number of measures, including “reducing stamp duty on the purchase of a property under a certain size by a person over a certain age who has sold a property over a certain size”.
“This should be coupled with the introduction of measures to incentivise builders to include a certain proportion of properties suitable for downsizing in every housing development e.g. bungalows in housing developments,” the document says.
Grants would also be provided to older people who wanted to convert family homes into sub-units they could then let out to provide retirement income.
For pensioners and older people, the Ministers are asking Mr Donohoe to reinstate the €850 bereavement grant; introduce a special additional €100 Christmas payment for pensioners who live alone; and reduce the maximum amount payable for prescription charges for over-70s on a medical card from €20 to €15.
They are also seeking a commitment that this maximum charge will be extended to all medical card holders and “families without medical cards in future budgets”.
Assistance with dental, optical and hearing care would also be extended, including covering three-quarters of the cost of a hearing aid every four years.
Under health and social care, the betting tax would be doubled from 1 per cent to 2 per cent, with the €50 million such a move would yield going towards gambling and addiction services.
Increased mental health funding in third-level education is also proposed, as is unpaid leave for elderly parents and free nicotine treatment products for everyone with a prescription.
To help “workers and families” road tolls would be capped at €5 per day per car, and the threshold at which people pay inheritance tax should be increased by 20 per cent.
It is suggested further increases in the next two budgets could bring the level at which people pay inheritance tax up to €500,000 when inheriting from a parent or grandparent by 2021.