The last #GE16 word from the parties on ... The cost of living

Question: Can you outline your party’s specific policies, if any, to address the general cost of living in the course of the next government.
The last #GE16 word from the parties on ... The cost of living

Labour: Tánaiste Joan Burton - (Candidate in Dublin West)

We will:

Abolish USC on the first €72,000 of an individual’s income and increase marginal relief on PRSI for people earning up to €704 per week

Limit tax relief on high incomes to ensure those lucky enough to be on such salaries continue to make the same contribution to the tax net

Prioritise tax relief to low-income workers between €18,000 and €36,000

Support significant investment in public services rather than tax cuts for high earners

Provide for equal tax treatment for the self-employed

RENUA Ireland: Paul Bradford (Candidate in Cork East)

RENUA Ireland wants to downsize the variety of taxes we pay.

In that regard RENUA Ireland is abolishing motor taxation as part of our policy of simplifying the tax system and abolishing stealth and regressive taxes.

Though it is not precisely a stealth tax citizens are fed up of being constantly hit with extra charges when they least expect them.

Motorists pay enough tax already without being hit by more forms of stealth taxation.

The current tax is also regressive on at least two fronts.

It is costly to collect and wastes state resources that are needed elsewhere.

It is also environmentally regressive and penalizes those who are least able to pay.

RTE LICENCE

The RTE licence fee is another dated stealth tax on citizens which serves no useful purpose in an increasingly digital age.

RENUA Ireland is of the view that, given the context of a rising advertising market, ending the current arrangement will actually enhance the independence of RTE.

Sinn Fein: Gerry Adams - (Candidate in Louth )

We will lower the cost of living with targeted relief and badly needed public investment. To begin with we will provide relief for hard pressed families through the abolition of water charges and the property tax. We will also remove workers earning under €19,572 for the USC net and increase the self employed tax credit.

Through our investment in health care, benefits will include free GP care - starting with lower incomes - 230,000 people extra per annum, the abolition of prescription, A&E and overnight charges. Also in terms of third level education we will abolish the €3,000 third level contribution fee.

Furthermore in terms of our childcare proposals we will cap maximum fees for childcare costs at €180 per week and move to €150 per week over the term of government and increase the rate of maternity benefit paid to allow mothers to avail of their leave without financial hardship, by €260 per week to begin with.

Social Democrats: Ken Curtin - (Candidate in Cork East)

Improve state funding for childcare providers and reduce and cap childcare charges.

Halve prescription charges for most of the 1.7 million people with a medical card.

Invest €103m in primary education would result in savings on the cost of school books and school transport costs.

Restore subsidies to public transport providers on the basis that all of the extra funding

is used to reduce fares.

Save up to €260 per year by ending the idiocy of Irish Water (a charging system that is costing as much as it is collecting).

Stop rent costs spiralling by ensuring future rent increases would be linked to the cost of living.

Save on heating bills by allowing all families access to a new retro-fitting scheme that

can be paid for through the utility bill.

Reduce Motor Insurance costs

Provide better non-litigation methods to settle personal injury claims so that legal costs are reduced, improve industry data-sharing to reduce fraud and enhance competition, and reform how claims costs are set by the Courts and the PIAB so that Irish settlements come more into line with the average costs in other countries.

Establish a Local Authority fund to enable more housing estates to be taken in this would reduce/eliminate management fees for thousands of families living in regular houses.

Reduce Third Level fees. Reduce and cap student charges to €2,000 per student per year.

Extend free GP Care to all children

Complete the roll-out of free GP Care to all children.

AAA/PBP: Paul Murphy (Candidate in Dublin South West)

We stand for the abolition of water charges, property tax and the USC. Other stealth charges and taxes like the prescription charges should also be abolished. This should be funded by the taxation measures outlined previously as well as a compensatory tax replacing the USC for earnings over €100,000.

The challenge of meeting the growing cost of living also points to the need for the introduction of a minimum wage of €12 an hour as well as a banning of zero-hour and ‘if and when’ contracts.

Fianna Fail: Billy Kelleher - (Candidate in Cork North Central)

Cutting costs for families is one of the four core priorities in our manifesto. Giving ordinary working families a break must be at the heart of government policy.

We will:

- Remove USC for earnings up to €80,000

- Scrap water charges

- Abolish Prescription Charges

- Reduce Drug Payment scheme threshold to €100

- Reduce DIRT from 41% to 38%

- Double the Home Carer Tax credit to €2,000

Fine Gael: Simon Coveney - (Candidate in Cork South Central)

We will abolish the USC over a five year period. We’ll also complete the equalisation for the income tax system for the self-employed by 2018. The Working Family Payment is designed to ensure that every parent working 15 hours or more per week takes home at least €11.75 per hour. All of this will ensure hard work and entrepreneurship are better rewarded.

Green Party: Eamon Ryan - (Candidate in Dublin Bay South)

A lot of political parties in this election are conveniently, advocating American taxes and European service. They are offering that false promise of lower taxes, and improved services. We cannot have both.

We should listen to the Fiscal advisory council, and listen to serious and realistic opinions on our ability to utilise the so-called ‘fiscal space’. We cannot be overambitious and spontaneous, in either the abolition or introduction of new charges and taxes.

We would not abolish USC, because there are services that rely on the revenue from said tax. The distance and work that has been made on getting our books in order should not be disregarded, or undone.

We would replace the Property tax with a Site Valuation tax. A Site Valuation Tax would generate €500m over 5 years. We would retain the current rate of Sales tax, as this would support our hospitality sector.

READ MORE: The last word on ...

- The red line issues

- Health

- Mental health and disability services

- The economy

- Welfare reform

- Law and order

- Housing crisis

- The EU and Brexit

- Vision for Ireland's future

Source: Answers supplied to irishexaminer.com as part of our #GE16 Q&A blog with participating parties/groupings running more than ten candidates.

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