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Budget Choices


Budget 2022 should embrace the need for new approaches to how we as a society prioritise choices. People, well-being, public services and a widespread and fair recovery must be Government priorities.  Yet, as we edge ever closer to Budget day, news reports suggest discussions within Government are focused on proposals that are far from fair. 


Building a regional recovery must be a priority in Budget 2022.  The social and economic impact of the pandemic on the regions will be lasting.  Therefore, appropriate and sufficient investment is vital to a balanced and fair post-Covid recovery where no-one is left behind


Budget 2022 is not the time for fiscal retrenchment.  Instead Government should provide the necessary resources for housing, climate and the revised NDP.  The choices Government makes in Budget 2022 must be focused on building a future that is prosperous, sustainable and fair.
 


Our pre-budget submission, 'Budget Choices 2022' contains detailed, fully-costed Budgetary packages across more than a dozen policy areas including health, housing, education, welfare, sustainability and more; it also contains a range of costed, revenue-raising proposals.


Social Justice Ireland is calling on Government to increase in core social welfare rates by €10 per week in Budget 2022 and to commit to benchmarking core social welfare rates to 27.5 per cent of average earnings over two years. Government must not to leave those on social welfare behind for a third successive budget. 


Social Justice Ireland is proposing a €10 increase in core social welfare payments in Budget 2022. This would set Government on the correct path to benchmark social welfare rates to 27.5 per cent average weekly earnings over a two-year period, which was the standard set in 2007.  Budget 2021 was the second budget in a row which failed to deliver an increase to the minimum social welfare payment.  A repetition of this failure in Budget 2022 would leave those who are most vulnerable in a very difficult position and see them fall further behind.


Budget Choices 2022 contains detailed, fully-costed Budgetary packages across more than a dozen policy areas including health, housing, education, welfare, sustainability and more; it also contains a range of costed, revenue-raising proposals.


Despite the immediate uncertainty, Budget 2022 must embrace the need for new approaches to how we as a society prioritise choices. People, well-being, public services and a widespread and fair recovery must come first.


How we plan our finances, and what we choose to prioritise, post-Covid-19, will have profound implications for the future of our economy and society. To this end Social Justice Ireland proposed to the Select Committee on Budgetary Oversight that the priorities for Budget 2022 should be adequate social welfare rates and poverty reduction, just taxation, housing for all and tackling unemployment. 


In advance of the first budget from the current Government, it is important to remember three things: (i) the primary focus should be on increasing employment and delivering infrastructure and services, NOT on deficit reduction; (ii) a huge amount of borrowing will be needed in the next three years, and probably more again after that, and (iii) this borrowing is affordable and is the correct thing to do for the future of the economy and society.

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