End austerity – and you end the ‘need’ for austerity, says Jimmy Kelly
September 2nd: Trade union Unite today (Monday, September 2nd) launched its Pre-Budget Submission. Entitled Beyond Austerity – Proposals for a Thriving Economy, the submission focuses on investment and incomes as key to generating economic recovery. A summary of the document is available here. Among the union’s proposals are:
- A halt to cuts in overall spending
- An additional €500 million in taxes to be levied on top earners and unproductive activity
- An increase in employer’s PRSI on salaries over €100,000
- Reinvestment of savings, efficiencies and productivity gains into domestic demand by reversing some of the most outrageous cuts in recent Budgets
- A Special Investment Programme equivalent to 1 per cent of GDP (1.7 billion), to be funded from the sale of Irish Life and BOI bonds
- A €1 billion Enterprise Fund to be sourced from the Strategic Investment Fund
- An increase in the Minimum Wage to €9.20: Unite is proposing that the Government use the opportunity of the Budget to announce this measure, thus restoring the value of the Minimum Wage after inflation
Speaking at the launch, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said:
“All the evidence shows that, by ending austerity, you end the ‘need’ for austerity.
“Austerity is strangling the growth we need to create sufficient jobs and put more money into people’s pockets – and we need to do both in order to generate the revenue necessary to reduce our debt.
“The figures are stark. After €27 billion is austerity measures since 2008, the underlying deficit is still higher than when the cuts and tax increases started.
“We need to start looking ‘Beyond Austerity’. That does not mean going back to business as usual – to an economy reliant on property related activities and speculation. Working people are still paying the price for the bubble economics that got us into this mess.
“Rather, Unite’s proposals are intended as a contribution to a vital debate about how we generate the investment needed to increase the economy’s productive capacity and create good sustainable jobs while reducing inequality, poverty and deprivation”, Mr Kelly said.
Commenting on Unite’s call for planned spending cuts to be halted, the union’s Research Officer Michael Taft said:
“Abandoning the Government’s proposed spending cuts in Budget 2014 would significantly boost the economy. Employment would rise by 17,000 and consumer spending would increase by over €1 billion. The overall impact on public finances would be limited as the economy would experience significant growth. The Government would still meet its bailout targets on the deficit. There is no economic rationale to proceed with spending cuts”.