The Sinn Féin alternative budget shows they are still the high tax anti-business party, a Fine Gael Minister of State has said.
Minister Peter Burke said: “With the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy is already facing an unprecedented shock, yet Sinn Féin is proposing 19 separate tax increases amounting to over €2.2 billion in its alternative budget.
“Now is not the time for more tax increases; it’s a time to stimulate the economy and create employment, just like Fine Gael did successfully when we came into government after the last economic crash.
“Businesses up and down the country are under enough pressure as it is without having to deal with an unsustainable tax burden. Don’t the people in Sinn Féin realise that small and medium businesses are the life blood of our economy? They create jobs and are essential to the vibrancy of our towns and villages.
“Sinn Féin also want to increase the tax burden on ordinary families. For example they want to increase the tax on inheriting the family home, proposing a 3% rise in Inheritance Tax rate (CAT) from 33% to 36% and a €33,000 decrease in the tax-free amount a family can pass on to their children.
“Accidental landlords would also be punished by Sinn Féin as they are effectively proposing a double taxation for them; they want a second home tax, without abolishing property tax.
“Sinn Féin just could not be trusted with the public finances. This is the Party that said we should spend the Rainy Day Fund. Where would we be now had we done that? Fine Gael is prioritising the prudent management of the public finances to ensure we can get through this crisis and come out the other side.
“As with everything produced by Sinn Féin, the hypocrisy jumps off the pages. Their alternative budget proposes a rent freeze and yet in the North they have just raised rents by 2.7%.
“In March they wanted us to introduce COVID income support of up to €525 per week for 20 weeks. Yet in Northern Ireland they merely increased their Universal Credit by a meagre £20 resulting in an allowance of less than £95 a week to support people during COVID.
“They criticise the Government for replacing the TWSS with the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme which will extend employer business supports until April 2020, despite the fact their furlough scheme in the North ends in October. Do they think people are stupid?
“As well as all the hypocritical nonsense, the Sinn Féin budget is also striking in terms of what it omits. Amazingly, in the middle of a climate crisis, Sinn Féin don’t mention the environment once in their submission. They are completing ignoring any discussion of a carbon tax, choosing instead to bury their heads in the sand on this important issue.
“Sinn Féin’s hypocrisy in their actions north vs south, and their determination to place a crippling tax burden on ordinary families and small businesses shows the disdain they have for people, Minister Burke concluded.”