Eliminating waste and protecting frontline services - Net €837.25 million
Sinn Fein’s total package of savings proposals amount to €982.244 million, however we allow €145 million for an easing of the recruitment ban.
This is by no means a comprehensive set of savings and we will review the Government’s comprehensive expenditure review. However, we are clear in our commitment to properly funded public services. Health and education need investment – a true reform of the sector would most likely entail a transfer of money around the departments with efficiencies in how it is spent.
Ireland is in receipt of loans from the EU and IMF to allow the state to stay out of the international lending markets and fund its deficit each year. The Government has claimed the EU/IMF money is necessary to pay ‘teachers, nurses and gardaí wages’. The deficit was €22.1 billion at the start of November and almost half (€10.6 billion) of this was incurred because of transfers to Anglo Irish Bank, AIB and BoI. The other half has arisen because of unemployment (causing a collapse in tax revenue), a higher social welfare bill and higher debt servicing.
This Government wants to target yet again frontline services and the most vulnerable. Social welfare spend is growing because more people arebecoming unemployed. Slashing rates is not the answer to this problem. Families and children have in particular carried the brunt of cuts over the last number of years and cannot sustain any further cuts to child benefit, carer’s rates, Family Income Support etc.
- Apply charges based on the full economic cost for the use of beds in public and voluntary hospitals in the state for the purposes of private medical practice. Figure sourced from the National Casemix Programme. Saves: €372.744 million
- Implement full generic substitution of medicines under the GMS scheme and clamp down on over prescriptions; estimated savings from Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers in Ireland and OECD health data. Saves: €200 million
- Cap all public servants wages at €100,000 per annum. Saves: €265 million
- Cap Commercial State Sponsored Bodies CEO pay at €100,000. Saves: €3 million
- Cut all State Agency Board Fees by 25%. Saves: €6.7 million
- Target a reduction of 25% in professional fees across departments excluding health. Saves: €38.5 million
- Cap government salaries at €100,000, TDs at €75,000 and Senators at €60,000. Saves: €4.3 million
- Phase out state subsidy of private schools, while continuing to make provision for minority schools. Private schools received more than €530 million in support from the taxpayer over the past five years. Most of this went to pay teachers’ salaries. The total number of students in fee-paying, secondlevel schools this year (26,277) has dipped only marginally – despite fees of more than €5,000 per pupil per year. We would implement this proposal as a phased reduction starting with 20% in 2012. Saves €20 million
- Reduce spending on rent supplement by providing social housing for people to move into. In 2010 a total of €516.8 million was spent on rent supplement for 97,260 households and this figure is growing. Rent supplement was intended to be a short-term emergency payment but in practice it is a significant ongoing transfer of public funds into the pockets of private landlords. Housing people in social units would save money spent on rent supplement in the long term. We propose that the Government releases a number of NAMA holdings to the state, where suitable. In our stimulus package we also propose a social housing build and renovating NAMA properties for rent. If the state targeted 10,000 homes, €51.6 million would be saved on rent supplement spending and differential rents would raise €15 million per annum. This policy has the potential to raise and save €66.6 million for the Exchequer in a full year and we would target a saving of €20 million in 2012. Saves: €20 million
- Recoup from employers social transfers paid to wrongfully dismissed employees. If an employer is found to have wrongfully dismissed a former member of staff by the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) the state should be able to recoup all social welfare payment paid out to the employee from the time of dismissal to the date upon which the order was made. Potential to save €12 million
- Reform social welfare system to make it easier for job seekers to avail of casual work without going on the black market. Potential to save up to €40 million per annum
- Remove the recruitment ban in order to hire frontline staff for Sinn Fein’s jobs investment projects such as schools and primary health care centres. This would allow for the employment of 3,500 extra frontline staff. Cost: €145 million