Laois Offaly Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley is in the eye of the storm
Sinn Féin's Laois Offaly TD Brian Stanley has taken aim at the Government over budget which he claims achieves little other than helping landlords, speculators and developers.
The General Election poll topper welcomed the investment in carers but dismissed the effort made to help people on low incomes.
“The public wanted to see urgency from the Government regarding the housing crisis, the rental crisis, the health service and the cost of living. Unfortunately, never has so much been spent to achieve so little. This is a budget for landlords, speculators, and developers," he said.
The TD said a major issue in the housing sector is vacant land sitting unused by speculators and developers, land that is needed to deliver affordable and cost rental homes.
He said Sinn Féin’s budget would have increased the vacant site levy to 15% to incentivise developers to build homes on vacant land.
"Instead, the Government has scrapped the existing 7% levy, and replaced it with a 3% levy on zoned land, which is essentially a tax break for speculators. What’s worse, it includes a 3-year lead in time before it takes full effect. Where is the urgency from the Government on housing?’’
He added that renters got no benefit from what was announced by Ministers Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath.
“The budget offers absolutely nothing for renters. No rent freeze, no rent controls, no tax relief. Instead, an additional €168m will be provided in rent subsidies to landlords through HAP, coupled with pre-letting expenses, another tax-write off. Sinn Féin would introduce a 3-year rent freeze and an 8% tax rebate for renters to put a month’s rent back in their pockets.
"Renters are also going to be punished disproportionately by the carbon tax, living in accommodation that is often poorly insulated, with inefficient and expensive heating systems," he said.
The Sinn Féin representative said the health actions in the budget are blurred.
“Regarding health, there is a real lack of focus in the Budget. Not only does Sinn Féin’s alternative budget provided greater investment than the Government, but we target our funding into solving the waiting list crisis, into additional ICU beds, increasing general hospital beds, and expanding Primary Care and GP capacity," he said.
The Laois-based TD welcomed as 'progress' moves in relation to the carers allowance and other supports.
"These people work incredibly hard and deserve recognition,’’ he said.
However, he said others have been ignored.
"Low income workers were left behind. 80% of workers won’t benefit at all from the Governments proposed tax breaks and higher earners will benefit disproportionally from any tax relief introduced.
“Similarly, if you are a struggling worker or family in rural Ireland, you’re hit with a further increase in the carbon tax, increased home energy costs and increased motor costs," he said.
He was critical of the approach to making houses more efficient and environmentally friendly to live in.
"If you own a home you most likely won’t be able to afford to retrofit it and the national retrofit grant scheme is moving at snails pace. The working poor are now worse off. The alternatives are just not there for those hit hardest by carbon tax and the cost of living," he said.
Dep Stanley said Sinn Féin has set out how we would deliver change and begin build a better system for workers and families in its budget.
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