Around 200 people attended a Right 2 Water meeting against Water Charges in Sallynoggin tonight. The meeting was addressed by Richard Boyd Barrett TD, People Before Profit Alliance.
Archive for September, 2014
Government condemned for facilitation of corporate tax avoidance while ordinary citizens hammered with water charges and other regressive taxes
PBPA TD calls for increased corporate tax contribution instead of unjust water charges and austerity taxes
People Before Profit TD and Finance Committee member, Richard Boyd Barrett, has said the EU commission’s findings on the Irish government’s role in facilitating corporate tax avoidance by Apple, “exposes the rotten priorities of a government that helps a hugely profitable multinational avoid tax, while heaping regressive water taxes on citizens already battered with unfair taxes and austerity.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett said that “instead of imposing unjust water charges on hundreds of thousands of struggling families, the government should seek a greater tax contribution from the corporate sector in the form of an increased effective rate of corporate tax and a Financial Transaction Tax.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett continued: “It is utterly outrageous that our government has been involved in aiding and abetting massive tax avoidance by some of the wealthiest multinationals on the planet, while at the same time they have crucified poor and working people with savage cuts and grossly unfair taxes and charges.”
Huge numbers of families simply won’t be able to pay these charges for something as basic and absolutely necessary as water and now face the threat of their water supply being reduced to a trickle. The government is willing to impose that kind of cruel hardship on people who simply cannot afford it but massively wealthy companies that make billions in profits every year get active assistance from our government in avoiding paying taxes. It is absolutely obscene.
This government should abandon its despicable plan to impose yet another cruelly unjust charge on ordinary struggling families and instead fill the gap in the public finances by increasing the tax take, even marginally on the big corporations.
For example, the FTT, a miserable 0.1% tax on financial transactions would raise the same amount of money as the water charges are expected to raise. Or, even demanding a 1 or 2% increase in the effective corporate tax rate would more than cover the amount expected to be raised by water charges. The big corporations would barely even feel it.
It really is indicative of the utterly rotten priorities of this government that it chooses’ to support and protect the wealthiest multinationals ahead of hard pressed and struggling citizens.
A minimum of €5 billlion on a social housing programme over the next three years, more emergency accommodation, and immediate relaxation of rent allowance caps required to deal with crisis.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD, for the People Before Profit Alliance has said the latest suggested proposals from the government to deal with the social housing crisis and Minister Kelly’s reported request for €250 million in the budget, are “grossly inadequate” and “will go nowhere near resolving the problem.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett said that the government’s current proposals would “not even put a dent in the housing list as the number of new applicants joining local authority housing lists every month was several multiples of the numbers of houses being allocated in the same period”. Deputy Boyd Barrett said this was anywhere between 5 and 10 to 1 in numbers joining lists, as against numbers of houses being allocated in many areas.
Deputy Boyd Barrett who first warned the government that a social housing crisis was looming in the summer of 2012, and who has been calling for a major investment programme in new local authority housing since then, said that to have any serious impact on the current crisis, “the government needs to commit in the region of €5-6 billion over the next three years, including at least €2 billion in the upcoming 2015 budget, to an emergency public housing programme, as well as more immediate interim measures such as the provision of extra emergency and temporary accommodation and the relaxation of rent allowance caps.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said the finance for the necessary social housing programme should come from a combination of direct government investment (funded by a higher effective corporation tax rate), NAMA’s cash reserves (currently €4 billion) and the new strategic investment fund.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “Finally, in the last few months the government have moved from ignoring and denying the social housing crisis and their disastrous policy mistakes to accepting that there is a crisis, but they are still refusing to acknowledge the urgency and scale of the problem and the measures required to deal with it.”
PBPA TD says people power can force government to back down on water charges
Richard Boyd Barrett TD, for the People Before Profit Alliance has said that the government’s water charges plans are a shambles and that public anger over the charges is rapidly escalating.
Deputy Boyd Barrett’s comments come in the wake of weekend media reports that the government’s Economic Management Council is fearful of a major political backlash over water charges and the growing furore over Irish Water’s demand that householders hand over PPS No’s and other personal information to the new water utility.
Media reports based on leaks from the Economic Management Council suggested that the Council fears major political damage to the government parties over water charges and that this has prompted them to consider a waiver scheme for lower income families – a suggestion they had previously dismissed when proposed by opposition parties and independents.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said, that public fury over water charges was further intensifying because of Irish Water’s demand that householders hand over PPS No’s and other personal information that would then be treated Irish Water as an “asset” and could be passed onto to third parties in the event of Irish water selling on any of its assets.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said that government panic and the outrage over the PPS issue was confirmation that the growing campaign of resistance to the charges is having a real impact.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The government are clearly panicking in the face of growing public outrage and a rapidly developing campaign across the country against the water charges. When the water services legislation was going through the Dáil, the government explicitly rejected and voted down proposals from the opposition for waivers for low income families and other groups.
People Before Profit slams the Local Property Tax blackmail that will see funding of local authorities slashed
In a statement today People Before Profit has denounced the Local Property Tax scam which means that many councils could actually be worse off despite collecting €500 million annually from households.
People Before Profit councillors across the country slammed the government for forcing councillors to decide on any reduction in the LPT when they have not yet received full details of their funding allocation from the Minister.
The main funding stream for Local Authorities has previously been allocated from central taxation through a Local Government Fund from the Department of the Environment and a series of grants from other departments. It is now clear that the LPT will replace this Local Government Fund but there has been no confirmation from central government as to the other grants. Meanwhile councils have to inform the department as to whether or not they are reducing the tax by up to 15% by the end of September.
Responding to the absence of any clarity on the budget from the Government, Cllr Brid Smith of Dublin City Council slammed the attempt to blackmail councillors, particularly in respect of funding the Homeless Agency. “Dublin City Council’s has responsibility to deliver on the Homeless agenda. But this Government is using the most vulnerable group to put a gun to our heads on proposals to decrease the LPT. The Government should state clearly and categorically its commitment to the homeless by guaranteeing full funding for the growing crisis in homelessness. They cannot pass the responsibility for a crisis created by their policies onto the shoulders of the local authorities.” Continue reading
People Before Profit TD expresses fear that smaller local libraries across the county may now close
In a statement today, People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, criticised Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, for closing Dun Laoghaire Library before there is even a confirmed date for the opening of the new LexIcon, leaving the people of the county town without any library.
The new Library & Cultural Centre, which cost €36.6 million to build, was opposed by many local people including People Before Profit, who were the only political party to oppose it on the grounds that the size, location on seafront and the exorbitant cost.
People Before Profit also expressed fears from the very outset that the staffing requirements of the new super-library, against the background of a public sector recruitment embargo would lead to the down grading or even closure of other local libraries. People Before Profit now believe these fears could be realised.
The plans are to open the new 3 storey library for 57 hours a week and it seems clear that this new library could suck up the majority of the library staff in the county and put other smaller libraries at risk.
Council management are suggesting using Gateway staff, an internship programme that sees jobseekers being paid €20 per week to work in local authorities, in the new super-library.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The new super-library in Dun Laoghaire is an enormous project. Council management would like to open it 57 hours a week, this number of hours across 3 stories will need skilled librarians, library assistants and library attendants if this public facility is to live up to its potential. It is as yet unclear, how this level of staffing will be provided without negatively impacting on other local libraries.”
Real alternative will be posed by candidates promoting active opposition to water and home taxes, cuts and low pay, and demanding action on housing crisis.
In a statement today, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, for the People Before Profit Alliance, has said the forthcoming bye-elections in Dublin South West and Roscommon offer a welcome opportunity for voters to puncture the “bogus government claims” that their polices have been a success in promoting meaningful economic recovery.
Deputy Boyd Barrett, who will be speaking in the Dáil, when the writ for the by-elections is moved by the government later today, said he was delighted that Cllr Nicky Coules, longstanding community activist and Tallaght resident, was standing as the People Before Profit in the Dublin South West by-election.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said the real alternatives for voters in the by-elections, were those candidates such as Nicky Coules, who were actively involved in campaigns on the ground opposing home and water taxes, challenging low pay and public service cuts, and campaigning for more social and affordable housing.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “Much of the media debate as the Dail re-convenes and the by-election’s loom, has been dominated by government propaganda about its so-called achievements and meaningless spats between personalities and factions in the larger parties. However, the real issues facing people on the ground, -the things that will actually dictate how people vote – are continuing financial hardship, crumbling public services and the utterly disastrous housing crisis.
Talk of recovery will mean very little to low and middle income families who are set to take another hammering with the imposition of water charges and the full-year cost of the home tax. It will mean nothing at all to the tens of thousands of families who cannot afford a home as government policy stokes up another property price bubble, leaving record numbers homeless or threatened with homelessness. It will be nothing short of an insult to sick, disabled or vulnerable people who try and access care or support from a health service that is falling apart under the impact of savage cuts.