Greens publish social policy plan for a better Ireland

Greens publish social policy plan for a better Ireland. Labour should come clean on social welfare cuts – Gormley

Green pledges:

  • No cuts to basic social welfare rates or the state pension
  • Extend childcare scheme to include all preschool children
  • Refundable tax credits for the lower paid

Launching the Green Party’s social policy document A Better Ireland in Carlow this morning, John Gormley called on the Labour Party to come clean on the level of social welfare cuts they will make in Government. The Green Party Leader said: “The Labour Party continues to deceive the Irish public with its cavalier approach to correcting the public finances. “Apart from hiding €2bn of taxes and cuts, they peddle the fiction that you can cut over €1bn from social welfare without cutting basic rates: this is not possible. “Fine Gael has at least has admitted that it will cut unemployment benefit by €3 per week in 2013 in 2012 and 2013 and by €4 a week in 2014,” he added. “The Green Party is saying that there is a better, fairer way to do this. It is possible to make €9bn in budgetary adjustments without cutting welfare rates or pensions,” added Green Party spokesperson on social and family affairs Dan Boyle “By integrating our welfare and taxation systems, not only can we make savings in social welfare spending in a fair way but it also provides us with an opportunity to better target poorer families. “The introduction of refundable tax credits will provide a further support for low paid and part time workers,” he said.

Green Party Deputy Leader and TD for Carlow Kilkenny Mary White said: “The pursuit of social justice has always been central to the Green Party’s guiding principles. In government we fought to protect some of the most vulnerable members of our society. We protected funding for homeless services, reversed cuts to education and implemented a number of measures to promote integration. “The issue of children is of huge importance to the Green Party. Childcare costs remain a considerable burden for many working mothers and fathers. We believe that access to high quality, affordable childcare places remains a priority. In our policy, we propose to introduce tax incentives for extended family members who are taking care of their grandchildren, and also to extend the current age limits to include all preschool children. “And we would also hold a referendum to place the rights of the child at the heart of our Constitution as a matter of urgency. The Green Party values all forms of family in this country. We will build on the success of the introduction of civil partnerships by introducing full marriage equality for same-sex couples. “When I was Minister of State with responsibility for equality, the erosion of Ireland’s equality infrastructure in recent times was a matter of great concern to me. Upon taking up my position I immediately instigated a review of funding for the Equality Authority and the Irish Human Rights Commission. The Green Party wants to see these important organisations restored to their previous capacity. We also want to strengthen our equality legislation by including a tenth ground of socio-economic status,” she said.