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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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Right2Water wants to scrap water charges and hike spending by €9.4bn. Here's how it will pay for it:

They’ve put together a shopping list of demands for any new government.

Image: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland

TRADE UNIONS INVOLVED in the Right2Water campaign are holding a conference today and have put together an “explanation” about how water charges can be abolished through “progressive general taxation”.

Today’s Right2Water conference follows on from another Mayday conference and comes after weeks of submissions from those involved in the campaign.

The submissions helped set out a policy document that laid out Right2Water’s position on a range of issues.

Now, the Right2Water unions have published a Fiscal Framework which they say outlines what a progressive government would do in budgetary terms up to 2020.

The plan is supported by Unite, Mandate, Communication Workers Union, Plasterers Union of Ireland and the Civil Public and Services Union.

The document proposes that public investment should be nearly doubled over the next five years with an increase in public services and income supports of over €6 billion.

In total, the Fiscal Framework provides for an extra €9.4 billion over four years, saying that Ireland is a “low-spending” economy right now.

To achieve this plan, the unions say that revenue from employers’ social insurance would have to increase by over €8 billion.

r 2 w 2 Source: Right2water

The document also states that €300 million can be raised by a wealth tax and argues that that a government could negotiate a €2 billion once-off investment package from the European Fund for Structural Investments

Unite’s Michael Taft says that employers are not paying enough PRSI.

“Employers in Ireland pay approximately one third of what their counterparts in Europe pay in social insurance contributions,” he argues.

On the other hand, workers are paying approximately the same rate as their fellow Europeans through income taxes, USC, VAT and employee’s PRSI rates. If we want to have European style public services and social protections then it is obvious where the gap lies and that’s in employers’ PRSI rates.

r 2 w spending Source: Right2Water

The framework, of course, also argues for the abolition of domestic water charges and says funding for water provision, sanitation and investment would be raised from progressive general taxation.

Today’s meeting is being held at CWU Hall at William Norton House in Dublin and will hear from a range of union speakers.

Read: Why won’t Irish Water tell us how many people have paid their bills? >

Read: Why aren’t the Irish protesting? A question that was being asked a few years ago. Not anymore. >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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