Deputy Sorca Clarke.

SF's alternative budget is 'a budget for the people' says Clarke

Sinn Féin's alternative budget "is a budget for the people and a budget for change", Deputy Sorca Clarke says.

The party's 2023 budget proposals were launched this morning by party leader Mary Lou McDonald TD, spokesperson on finance Pearse Doherty TD and spokesperson on public expenditure and reform Mairéad Farrell TD.

Deputy Clarke says that SF's proposals "are about giving workers and families help and certainty to get through the winter months, while building for the future and delivering the housing and healthcare that is needed".

“We are making different political choices to this government.

"We are prioritising those on middle and low incomes and a younger generation locked out of all opportunity.

“That means an emergency cost of living package is a vital part of what needs to be delivered - to help workers and families in Longford and Westmeath with the cost-of-living crisis.

“That means we need immediate action and relief.

“Sinn Féin measures match the scale of the impact on people’s lives.

“We will:

• Cut household electricity bills.

• Reduce childcare fees by two thirds.

• Put a month’s rent back in renters’ pockets and ban rent increases.

• Cut the USC to boost the take home pay of workers.

• Protect jobs by helping businesses with rising energy costs.

• Increase social welfare rates by at least €15.

“Along with dealing with the immediacy of the cost-of-living crisis, we need to start planning for the future by building homes and building better public services.

“That means:

• Delivering 20,000 social and affordable homes.

• Reducing the cost of healthcare, tackling waiting lists and training more health workers.

• Completely overhauling the current retrofit scheme to help those on middle and low incomes who have been locked out of retrofitting their homes.

“This budget has to be about change.

“It has to be about what really matters to people.

“We cannot continue to see a rehashing of old tired policies that have failed under successive Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments.

“We need fresh ideas and a change of direction.

“That is what Sinn Féin’s alternative budget is about, to give workers and families in Longford and Westmeath a break," she said.