A refundable €300 tax credit for every worker earning up to €50,000 a year and a €10 increase in all social benefits should be introduced as part of an emergency budget, social workers said -democrats.
he party’s first in-person annual conference since 2019 has been told that targeted measures are needed for those most in need as part of efforts to tackle the cost of living crisis. About 300 delegates attended the two-day event.
The Social Democrats, who have six DTs and 19 city and county councillors, are also proposing the creation of a precariousness fund so that people at risk of energy or food poverty can quickly access emergency payments and introduce a wage. decent €12.90 per hour.
Addressing the rally at the Gresham Hotel in central Dublin on Saturday evening, co-leader Róisín Shortall said: “This generation of young people will be the first to be worse off than their parents. Housing costs are out of control; child care costs are equivalent to a mortgage and energy prices are skyrocketing.
She said the crisis was not affecting everyone equally, with people “going deeper and deeper into debt to pay for necessities and more and more people are at serious risk of poverty”.
The party’s other co-leader, Catherine Murphy, told delegates that single people were forced to live at home, share a house or “rent tiny apartments at exorbitant costs until they have 30s, 40s and beyond”, while older people had to worry about where they will live when they retire and how they will pay for it.
“Even couples, on what were once considered living wages, cannot afford property. Many are considering emigration again,” she said.
She said the party was calling for a tax on 90,000 vacant homes to get them back into use, a referendum to control the cost of building land and an end to the “favorable tax treatment” of REITs and vulture funds.
The party is also proposing a three-year freeze on rent increases and a one-off tax on energy companies, which Ms Shortall said ‘profit off the backs of ordinary people’.
On climate action, Ms Shortall said there was only eight years left to stop “irreversible climate catastrophe”. She said the party would limit the development of new data centers, facilitate the rapid development of offshore wind, invest in public transport infrastructure and introduce an affordable modernization program.
To greet delegates’ applause, Ms Shortall said full implementation of the Sláintecare plan to provide public health care during the term of the next government “will be a red line for our participation in this government”.
Delegates also stood to applaud Ms Shortall’s pledge that the party would not donate valuable public infrastructure to any private company ‘whether religious or otherwise’ in the wake of the hospital controversy National Maternity Hospital.
Earlier, TD Holly Cairns told delegates her own unlikely electoral success in Cork South-West should encourage others to stand for the party.
“I was rejected as a candidate in local elections and general elections,” Mr Cairns said. “I was told again and again and again that I had no chance and yet here I am.”