'It's quite urgent now' - Green TD wants mini budget to deal with cost of living

Government will announce measures on Thursday to combat rising inflation
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.23 9 Feb 2022

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'It's quite urgent now' - Gree...

'It's quite urgent now' - Green TD wants mini budget to deal with cost of living

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.23 9 Feb 2022

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A Government party TD has urged the Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to hold a supplementary budget to deal with the cost of living.

Green Party finance spokesperson Neasa Hourigan says there needs to be rises in the minimum wage and Child Benefit, among other targeted measures.

Government has no plans to hold a mini budget, but will announce a series of measures on Thursday aimed at cushioning people from rising inflation.


Asked if her proposals amount to a supplementary budget, Deputy Hourigan told The Hard Shoulder you can call it whatever you like.

"I suppose I don't want to go down a rabbit hole of semantics.

"We could just call it a package of measures to respond to current inflation.

"What we're trying to do - and obviously we're doing this in the background privately with our coalition partners as well.

"But it's important to say it publicly too, and kind of put those ideas out there, that we need to take immediate short-term action on the rate of inflation.

"Really it's quite urgent now at this stage.

"I think you can kind of get hung up on the words; but I do think what we need is a significant action taken by Government on the cost of living".

'Particularly keen on Child Benefit'

She says the increases are creeping into all sectors.

"The cost of living increases that we're seeing across energy and food and rent are disproportionately affecting those on low to middle incomes.

"The rate of inflation that we're seeing is more than we've seen in almost a decade.

"There has been good noises from Government around taking action, and what we wanted to do is set out some proposed actions that we could take."

She says measures could include accelerating the move towards the living wage, which should be set at €11.

"One thing I'm particularly keen on is to increase Child Benefit by €10 per month.

"I think this is a particularly worthwhile thing to do, because Child Benefit is universal.

"It's very much aimed at women and children, and it really does go right into people's pockets and does make a big difference".

She says she's "always" looking for social welfare increases around disability - and also believes a new tax credit could help people.

"A refundable tax credit, to allow those on lower incomes to claim back any unused tax credits".

Carbon Tax

Put to her that the Green Party is looking to implement the Carbon Tax at this time, she says this is not the same.

"If you look at the numbers, the Carbon Tax is part of our national targets in terms of the increase - which is what the opposition is asking for - a stall on the increase in Carbon Tax.

"If you look at that in real monetary terms, that has nothing like the impact on households as something like the minimum wage or Child Benefit".

'It's quite urgent now' - Green TD wants mini budget to deal with cost of living

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While an opposition TD has compared the Government's attempts to tackle the rising cost of living to "tiny sticking plasters on a gaping wound."

People Before Profit-Solidarity TD Paul Murphy told Newstalk more needs to be done.

"The Government has the power to introduce price controls - so, for example, to say in relation to electricity, to say in relation to oil and gas that we're going to impose a maximum price cap on these essentials.

"A second thing we would say is that the minimum wage needs to rise - the minimum wage went up by 2.9% when inflation is running at over 5%.

"That's a pay cut - but that also goes for workers who aren't on the minimum wage... one in five workers are low paid.

"And we would encourage workers to take action themselves; if the Government isn't going to do it, to put in pay claims above the rate of inflation to mean that they aren't paying the price".

And he said the USC needs to be scrapped, considering it was brought in during an economic crisis.

"We're opposed to the USC, we campaigned for the abolition of the USC - and we would replace the USC with what we call a high-income social charge.

"[This] would apply to incomes only over €80,000 a year, and any income under €80,000 people wouldn't be paying it.

"It was a measure that was brought in linked to the crisis of 2007/2008, and we're still left with it".

Main image: Green Party spokesperson on finance Neasa Hourigan speaking to the media in January 2020. Picture by: Sam Boal/

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