The cost of living remains very high in Ireland. Years of austerity have left families with several new household bills as a range of new charges have been introduced. We continue to have some of the highest costs for childcare, housing and healthcare among developed countries, while even services that are meant to be free, such as primary education, are not free at all with parents under strain each year just to send their child to school.
These costs have impacted harshly on living standards, particularly for low and middle income families, and have undermined the ability of many families to make ends meet. They have also undermined our competitiveness by driving up costs across the economy and fuelling wage pressures.
Simply cutting income taxes, as most other political parties are promising to do, won’t address these costs. In fact, cutting taxes is likely to increase general demand in the economy and drive up costs even further. By investing in public services and targeting some key costs in family budgets, the Social Democrats believe that government can have a far more positive impact on household budgets, without eroding the tax-base. It would also be a far fairer approach, leaving no-one behind.
You can see all the detailed measures we would prioritise to improve family budgets in our full proposal document here.