The Government should spend the budget surplus on social welfare, housing and the climate crisis, Paul Murphy has said.
Surging corporation tax receipts mean the State is expected to record a budget surplus of €10 billion this year and €16 billion in 2024.
The Government has cautioned against spending the money all at once on the grounds that corporation tax revenues could drop as quickly as they have risen.
Instead, they plan on spending the cash on the creation of a State Welfare Fund that could be modelled on the one set by Norway in the 1990s.
“So, really what we should do is use the surplus in two ways,” Deputy Murphy told Newstalk Breakfast.
“One is immediate measures to protect people from the cost of living crisis - which continues.
“So, for example, by increasing basic social welfare payments [and] pension payments to a minimum of €300 and for €350 for those on disabilities.
“Then using the rest of the money to invest in capital expenditure that will have a long-term impact.”
Deputy Murphy described climate change as the “number one crisis facing all of humanity” and said the Government could be doing much more to help the country transition to net zero carbon emissions.
“It makes absolute sense for the State to assist people in reducing their energy consumption and, in particular, reducing their consumption of fossil fuels,” he said.
“So, the State again should have a State company to roll out insulation.”
Housing is another policy area where People Before Profit feel society would benefit from greater State intervention and spending.
“We should be using the surplus to develop a State construction company to build homes,” Deputy Murphy said.
“It makes sense to have one State construction company that absolutely has direct employment of 10,000 workers in order to then be able to provide homes on the scale that we need it.
“We have complete market failure… That’s why we have record rents and record levels of homelessness.”
In May, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said there was a “moral aspect” to not spending the budget surplus all at once.
“The reason why there is a case for running surpluses is also to be conscious of our responsibility to future generations,” he said.
“That also has a moral aspect to it; that also has an aspect of being aware that those who are yet to come… I want to ensure that the public services that they receive in the future are not reduced because the debt of this country is too high.”
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Main image: Paul Murphy is seen on the plinth outside Leinster House, Dublin. Picture by: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie