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Government must not use Brexit as cover for tax cuts – Cullinane

12 March, 2017 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform David Cullinane TD has warned the Government against using Brexit as political cover to push a tax cutting agenda. Deputy Cullinane was responding to comments from Minister Pascal Donahue carried in today's Sunday Independent.

Speaking from Waterford, Deputy Cullinane said:

“It is astonishing to hear the Minister with responsibility for expenditure prioritise tax cuts over spending. This is precisely the reason why we have a health crisis and a housing emergency. It is precisely the reason why we have one of the lowest spend on public investment in the EU.

“This Government is wedded to tax cuts for the wealthy and, as a consequence, will tolerate growing health waiting lists and rising homelessness.

“What this state needs is strong public investment to make us competitive and create jobs. We need to investment more in water infrastructure, flood relief, roads and broadband. We need to invest in schools, in hospitals and in public housing.

“The amount of available Fiscal Space for Budget 2018 is shrinking by the day. The carryover of full years costs of provisions in Budget 2017 as well as reduced growth forecasts has tempered the fiscal space available.

“To prioritise tax cuts over spending is to send a signal that the current crisis in public services will remain. This means more patients left on trolleys and more families left without a roof over their heads.

“The Minister has trotted out the same jaded Fianna Fáil line that the ‘centre must hold’. In reality, this is a call to keep things as they are.

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are cut from the same cloth. Fine Gael are only in office because Fianna Fáil allow it. They are both conservative parties whose instincts are to protect the elites and the better off.

“Sinn Fein will continue to provide a progressive alternative. We will reduce the burden on working families by abolishing the property tax and water charges in full. We will also take the low paid out of the USC charge net.

“However, we will deliver for all working families by reducing the cost of healthcare, education, childcare, and public transport. Sinn Féin is about investment and the delivery of quality public services.

“The best way to protect this state against Brexit is to fight for special status for the North within the EU and increase public spending on critical infrastructure. The promise of more tax cuts for the wealthy is a recipe for disaster.” 

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