Reaction to draft Programme for Government
A full analysis of the draft Programme for Government will be published in due course. In the meantime, our initial response highlights 10 positives contained within the PfG and 10 causes for concern. We go on to list other areas contained in the document on which Social Justice Ireland had advocated and campaigned.
Site Value Tax should form part of next Programme for Government
Ireland generally does a poor job of taxing land and property. Our inefficient Local Property Tax is a perfect example of this. A Site Value Tax would be a fairer and more efficient way to generate revenue, and it would also incentivise better use of land.
A Rising Tide Failing to Lift all Boats - European Research Series
‘A Rising Tide Failing to Lift All Boats’ is the latest publication in Social Justice Ireland’s European Research Series. This report analyses performance in areas such as poverty and inequality, employment, access to key public services and taxation. The report also points to key policy proposals and alternatives for discussion. These include the right to sufficient income, meaningful work and access to essential quality services. The policy proposals explore how these areas might be delivered upon in a changing world.
Time for automatic annual review of all tax expenditures
Despite the enormous cost to the exchequer of tax reliefs/expenditures (in 2016 tax reliefs amounted to approximately 10 per cent of total tax revenue) they are not subject to annual assessment as part of the budgetary process. It is extraordinary that this is the case, and Social Justice Ireland believes that reform should be a key part of the next Programme for Government, and of Budget 2021.
Measuring the socio-economic impact of Government policies
An open and transparent policy evaluation process, with meaningful engagement from all stakeholders, would ensure that we learn from our successes and from our mistakes. Such a process would ensure that we evaluate both and offer a framework to take our policy successes and replicate them across Government. Social Justice Ireland believes strongly in the importance of developing a rights-based approach to social, economic, and cultural policy. A key policy measure to deliver an open and transparent policy evaluation process is to measure the socio-economic impact of each budget. This should be a statutory responsibility for Government.
Recovery plans must address Social Impact of COVID-19
On Friday, 8th May 2020, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published the results of its survey on the Social Impact of COVID-19. This, as might be expected, makes for concerning reading. The self-reported well-being of the population as a result of the COVID-19 crisis was worse than in 2013, at the height of the impact of the 2008 Financial Crash, with just 12.2 per cent reporting a high life satisfaction rating in April 2020, compared to 31.4 per cent in 2013. The report highlights again the need for a new Social Contract to pave the way for recovery from the impact of COVID-19 and beyond. The impact of job losses on well-being, social inclusion and financial stress are severe and the changes in consumption, particularly the increases in alcohol and tobacco consumption, indicate a potential personal debt and health crisis that must be tackled if society is to function.
Tax policy must support environmental goals
If a government is setting environmental goals, it is important that its taxation system supports these goals. There is great scope in Ireland for shifting the burden of taxation away from productive activity and onto activity which reduces social wellbeing, depletes natural resources and biodiversity, harms the environment, and contributes to climate change. The taxes that people and organisations pay should, to the greatest extent possible, be based on the value they subtract by their use of common resources.
Corporations must support recovery post COVID-19
The full cost to Ireland of the COVID-19 pandemic is as yet unknown. Our unemployment rate was 16.5 per cent in March 2020 and the Stability Programme Update (SPU) estimates a possible general government deficit of €23 billion this year; and the Exchequer receipts for March 2020 were almost €1 billion lower than March 2019. Social Justice Ireland recently published our briefing on policy options for Ireland’s Taxation System post-COVID 19. Here we explore one option in particular, an increase in Corporation Tax.
Stability Programme Update shows why economy and society must be treated equally and addressed simultaneously
All plans for recovery from the present crisis must ensure that the economy and society are treated equally and addressed simultaneously. Analysing the Stability Programme Update (SPU) recently published by Government and reflecting on the commentary on its implications, it is clear that Ireland is in danger of repeating the mistakes of the past. One of the major lessons to be learned from the crisis of 2008/9 and the subsequent recovery is that giving priority to the economy over all else simply leads to some parts of society doing very well while great swathes are left further and further behind.
Post COVID-19: Reforming Ireland's Taxation System - some policy options
It is clear that tax policy will play a vital role both in the immediate Government response to support people and businesses, and in rebuilding our society and economy once the worst of the health impacts are contained. The new Government has an opportunity to reform and broaden our tax base and lay the foundations to increase our total tax take now to ensure we are well prepared to meet any future shocks. We have a once in a generation opportunity to build a new society, a new economy and a new country that reflects the lessons we have learned in recent weeks.