Greens propose weekly income scheme for 'dying' Irish towns in Budget

By Juno McEnroe, Political Correspondent

The Green Party have proposed a €1.5bn spend next year in their alternative budget, including restoring levels of dole for the young unemployed and piloting a town project where everyone, rich and poor, would get a basic €200 weekly income.

Party leader Eamon Ryan said the towns were "dying" across Ireland and the project had worked successfully in Finland and the US among other places. Towns here would apply to win the scheme, he said.

The Greens also propose increasing Irish Aid, scrapping the Help-to-Buy scheme and putting €300m into third level education.

While the party said cuts to USC or income tax would be irresponsible, it wants to close down corporation tax breaks, introduce a site value tax and abolish the low 9% VAT rate for the tourism sector. The latter move would return almost €500m to the Exchequer.

Defending proposals to restore dole amounts for the under 26s, Mr Ryan said the country was "not broke now" as opposed to during the crash and there were young people or artists genuinely broke between jobs.

The Greens also want 10% of the transport budget ringfenced for cycling. Overall, the party proposes €866m in new revenue raising measures on top of what it claims is the €650m in fiscal space for the Budget.

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