In this article, deputy Mattie McGrath summarises some of the Rural Independent Group’s Budget 2023 requests.
We believe that Budget 2023 must be fair, radical, and aimed at averting a social and economic catastrophe in Ireland.
In our view, state intervention in the order of €20 billion-plus will be needed to support families and small businesses and to protect the domestic economy from a meltdown.”
Budget 2023 must incorporate a complete slashing of all energy taxes, a windfall profits tax on banks and energy companies, and a strategy to convince the ECB to keep interest rates low.
Additionally, it must prioritize major energy price reforms, the elderly and less well-off while striving to open up Irish energy production and investments in new technologies.
Rural TDs demand five key budgetary measures:
- A €20 increase to all weekly social welfare payments and benchmarking as outlined in our submission (p.16);
- A slashing of all energy taxes and axing the carbon tax – the fastest way to cutting the cost-of-living pressures and tackling ‘greenflation’;
- An added windfall tax on the excess profits of banks and energy companies;
- A legally binding moratorium on gas and electric disconnections; and,
- A complete reversal of cuts to national, regional, and local road funding.
Our budget proposals can be fully funded by taxing the excess profits of energy companies and banks, ensuring tax loopholes for multi-nationals are minimized, maximizing available EU funds, establishing a new €28 billion EU-funded recovery bond, and using record exchequer tax receipts to buffer against inflation.
For instance, so far this year, we have seen the highest tax-take for the first eight seven months on record – €49.8 billion, which was €10.4 billion or 26% ahead of the same period last year, driven by much higher energy taxes as a direct result of higher energy prices.
These figures gave an exchequer surplus of €6.3 billion by the end of August, and this improvement must be used to fight inflation.
The Irish energy crisis has largely been deliberately engineered by the government’s utter lack of establishing a policy to provide security of energy supply, cut record energy taxes, and end hyperinflation-style climate change policies, including the crippling carbon tax.
That is why Budget 2023 must address these gross policy failings and bring relief to hard-pressed citizens by slashing all energy taxes, including vat and excise duty while axing the carbon tax.
Government green-style policies
Equally, the government’s blockage on domestic production of oil and gas must end, because doing so would deliver cheaper and much-needed energy supplies and end the reliance on overseas oil from polluting dictators.
Thus far, all government green-style policies, including blocking domestic energy production and record energy taxes, are akin to pouring petrol on the cost-of-living fire.
It is deplorable that the government allows the cost of importing fuels to surge to €10 billion this year. The net cost was only €4 billion when FF, FG, and the Greens entered government.
This exporting of our wealth, our jobs, our money, and our pollution to countries with horrible standards, who can charge whatever they want, is undermining our independence and crippling our people.
The government gatekeepers must take accountability for their part in hiking the cost of energy through their green-style taxation and import-dependent policies.
Taking in 130,000 barrels of oil a day from places like Qatar rather than making the energy here in Ireland is a ludicrous policy choice that is driving up the cost of everything from fuel to food.
Consequently, it is understandable why the Irish people feel betrayed.