Budget 2020- Effective Cuts For Workers, Pensioners, Social Welfare Recipients And Young People

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Carbon Tax- a regressive tax to distract from government’s failure to take the really radical climate measures necessary

People Before Profit TD, and member of the Budget Oversight Committee, Richard Boyd Barrett has said that while a radical budget was needed to mitigate a potential no-deal Brexit, the climate emergency and the disastrous situation in housing and health, a conservative budget was delivered which in effect imposed cuts for workers, pensioners, social welfare recipients and young people.

He said that the government were “repeating the folly of the disastrous reaction to the 2008 crisis which we are still paying the price for”.

Deputy Boyd Barrett also hit out at a carbon tax being imposed on ordinary people and households rather than imposing taxes on polluting corporations and introducing genuine radical climate measures such as free public transport, a national retrofit programme, a major afforestation programme and investment in renewable energy sources.

He said: “What was required by government in this budget was a radical budget which would mitigate and protect people in this society from the impact of a no deal Brexit, the climate crisis, the disaster in housing and health and many other areas. Instead we see a government making the same mistakes that were made after 2008 in response to the crash.

“The government have effectively cut the incomes of workers, pensioners, social welfare recipients and students by giving them no increases in income against a background of rising prices, spiralling cost of accommodation and, on top of that, loading on a regressive carbon tax on people who are not responsible for creating the climate emergency we face.

“What we needed was the very opposite of this. We needed to boost the incomes of workers small famers, the less well-off and young people faced with the threat of Brexit disruption or, even possibly, a new international recession.

“We needed to dramatically invest in public and affordable housing, to control rents, to invest in our public health system and other key areas of infrastructure in our economy. In particular, we needed major investment in radical climate measures such as free public transport, a national retrofit programme, a major afforestation programme and investment in renewable energy sources.

“Boosting the incomes of ordinary people and investing in these areas is the best protection against the multiple threats and dangers now facing our economy and our society.

“Despite the difficulties and dangers we face we should not forget that there is more wealth in this country than ever before. But this wealth is concentrated in the hands of a tiny proportion of very wealthy people, the big corporations, and the property speculators- all of whom have seen their incomes and profits increase dramatically in recent years, but who pay pitifully low rates of tax. We could raise billions in additional revenue to fund the public and affordable housing we need, the climate actions measures, and to give a break to ordinary workers if we closed the corporate tax loopholes and made the very wealthy pay their taxes.”