Labour under pressure take misrepresentation to a new level

Posted: May 9, 2015 in Economy, Labour, Recovery, Sinn Féin

As the general election draws ever closer it is clear that the Labour Party are under pressure.

Desperate to deflect attention away from the negative impact of their decisions on ordinary people they have turned misrepresentation into a new art form.

Not satisfied with misrepresenting their own record in Government they have turned their new-found craft to misrepresenting the position of their opponents.

Minister Alan Kelly’s confused article on Sinn Féin’s economic policy in yesterday’s Independent is a case in point.

His claim that Sinn Féin in Government would penalise the lowest paid workers is absolutely false.

Low and middle income earners have been crippled by Fine Gael and Labour.

The abolition of the PRSI ceiling, increase in VAT and Motor Tax and introduction of the property tax and water charge has significantly increased the tax bill of ordinary workers.

Failure to help those in mortgage distress or those struggling with spiraling rents has further increased financial pressure on ordinary families.

Contrary to the Governments claim that the income tax and USC changes in Budget 2015 benefited ordinary workers, the real winners were those at the top.

According to the ESRI only the top 40% of households actually benefited from the last budget with the greatest benefits going to the top 10%. The rest of us were actually net losers.

Fine Gael and Labour’s four budgets have been the most unfair since the recession.

Not satisfied with crippling low and middle income workers during their first term of office Fine Gael and Labour want voters to give them another five years.

Last week’s Spring Statement promised tax cuts for the wealthy, below inflation spending on public services and rigid adherence to EU fiscal rules.

These policies will copper fasten the unfair, two tier recover now underway.

They are the same policies agreed by Fianna Fáil with the Troika in 2010 and enthusiastically implemented by Fine Gael and Labour since 2011.

They are the policies that have led to massive emigration and the increase in low paid precarious employment.

They are the policies that perpetuate the crises in our health, education and community services.

They have nothing to offer the hundreds of thousands of struggling families across the state.

Sinn Féin believes that there is a better fairer way.

We want to reform the tax system to ease the burden to low and middle income earners while at the same time increasing the overall revenue available to government to invest in a social and economy recovery.

This is the only route to a fair recovery.

We would do this by; abolishing the property tax and water charges; reforming the USC to ease the burden on lower earners; increasing income tax on high earners to ensure they pay their fair share; increasing employers PRSI to address the deficit in the social insurance fund; introducing a wealth tax to generate funds for investment in job creation.

We also want to renegotiate the fiscal straight jacket being imposed by the European Commission.

Economic policy must be fiscally responsible. But it must also be socially responsible.

It must afford ordinary people the chance to have secure well paid employment, adequate housing and good quality public services.

If Minister Kelly took a little time to step out of the Government buildings bubble to see how ordinary people are living in his two tier recovery maybe he might see things a little differently.

Fine Gael and Labour believe that it is possible to reduce the overall tax take, adhere to draconian EU fiscal rules and increase investment in front line health, education and community services.

This is Father Ted economics.

Under their plan high earners will be the winners while those of us on low incomes and dependent on public services will be the big losers.

Fortunately people’s judgement of the Government won’t be based on hastily written articles in the newspapers. It will be based on whether their lives and that of their family and community are getting better.

An edited version of this article first appeared in the Irish Independent on May 8th. 

Sinn Féin’s economic alternative offers a route to a fair recovery. Maybe that’s why Minister Kelly is so desperate to misrepresent our policies.

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