Right2Water Trade Unions present alternative economic framework for a progressive Irish government

The trade unions involved in the Right2Water campaign have published "A New Fiscal Framework for a Progressive Irish Government" which outlines the economic choices a progressive Irish government could avail of in order to create a fairer more equal society.

Crucially, included in the Fiscal Framework is an explanation on how a government can fulfil the Right2Water policy of abolition of domestic water charges and how funding for water provision, sanitation and investment can be provided through progressive general taxation.

The Right2Water trade unions are hosting a conference on Saturday (13th June) where other policy areas will be discussed including the Right2Education, Right2Housing, Right2Health and other social and economic areas. The Fiscal Framework, if implemented, would allow a progressive Irish government to address the social crisis in each of these areas and more. 

In total, the Fiscal Framework provides for an extra €9.4 billion over four years with increased spending on public services and income supports by more than €6 billion, or over 10 percent.

Michael Taft, Research Officer with Unite the Union, explained how employers’ PRSI would be used as a key contributor towards the campaigns objectives. 

“Employers in Ireland pay approximately one third of what their counterparts in Europe pay in social insurance contributions. On the other hand, workers are paying approximately the same rate as their fellow Europeans through income taxes, USC, VAT and employee’s PRSI rates. If we want to have European style public services and social protections then it is obvious where the gap lies and that’s in employers’ PRSI rates.

“If Ireland were to have the average employers’ PRSI rates, it would provide a further €8 billion in revenue and we’re proposing achieving this incrementally in the long term. However, we could raise €4.1 billion over four years through this measure and wealth/capital taxation,” he said.

The document states that €300 million can be raised by a wealth tax citing work by the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI). Although, the Minister for Finance projected wealth tax revenue at between €400 and €500 so it is possible a wealth tax may raise more than what's contained in the Fiscal Framework document.

The Right2Water trade unions acknowledged the government’s plans for tax reductions in future Budget’s but said their fiscal framework would enact policies that benefit those in most need by addressing tax measures such as VAT, refundable tax credits and other progressive tax measures.