Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Greens propose 'key' budget changes

Green Party leader John Gormley and finance spokesman Dan Boyle said key changes would be made to the budget
Green Party leader John Gormley and finance spokesman Dan Boyle said key changes would be made to the budget

The Green Party has proposed to fix the public finances with no tax increases and no social welfare cuts for the next three years.

Despite recently passing the toughest budget in the history of the state and a draconian four-year austerity package, the former junior coalition partner claimed it could turn the economy around.

Party Leader John Gormley maintained that the overall direction of the four-year plan was the correct basis for stabilising the public finances.

"But we believe that some key changes can be made without jeopardising European support," he said.

"We can guarantee that income taxes will not be raised during the next three years, and that social welfare rates will not be cut.

"No other party is able to say this, on the contrary the opposite is implicit in both Fine Gael and Labour's proposals."

The Greens, which walked out of Government just over two weeks ago, also pledged a one billion euro investment in retrofitting and public transport infrastructure if re-elected.

Taking a swipe at opposition parties, Senator Dan Boyle, finance spokesman, claimed Fine Gael and Labour's budgetary numbers did not add up.

"Fine Gael says it will make cuts to public expenditure without cutting back on public services.

"Labour says it can cut 440 million euro from the Social Welfare Budget in 2012 without cutting social welfare rates: this is untenable," he added.

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