Labour Party Policies and Promises
Village outlines the main policies on which the Labour Party are campaigning with Fine Gael for election to the 30th Dail,
Tax (FG + Lab Joint Policy)
A 2-point cut in the standard rate of tax from 20% to 18%
Indexation of personal credits and bands to earnings and a further €5,000 increase in the point where 1-income married couples hit the top rate of tax
An increase in the home carers' credit to the level of the PAYE credit
A €1,000 increase in the tax credit for people working in the home caring for children or elderly relatives.
A €5,000 increase in the standard rate tax band for families.
Health (FG + Lab Joint Policy)
2,300 more hospital beds.
Free health insurance for every child under 16.
Free GP visits for every child under five.
Scrap plan to build private hospitals on public land.
1,500 new consultants, with reduction in the number of junior doctors.
1500 new convalescence beds, rehabilitation and long-stay community beds: at least 600 of these in Dublin.
Education (FG + Lab Joint Policy)
Double the capitation grant for primary schools from $163.58 to $320.
Class sizes capped at 15:1 in disadvantaged schools, 25:1 in mainstream primary schools.
Use CPO powers to purchase land at fair prices.
End the practice of forcing schools to stay in temporary accommodation for years by meeting the full costs of setting up schools
Build community use of school buildings into school designs.
Speed up project times.
Target an end to the use of pre-fabs.
Crime (FG + Lab Joint Policy)
Reform of Gardai, by independent Garda Authority.
Implementation of “real community policing”.
Establishing best international practice.
Revising Garda rostering.
Opening up senior Garda management to external candidates.
Economy (FG + Lab Joint Policy)
No higher taxes.
Adherence to EU Growth and Stability pact.
Increase capital spending to levels set out in National Development Plan 2007-13 and will invest 1% of GNP in National Pension Reserve Fund annually.
Transport and Infrastructure
Public transport projects to be fast-tracked to deliver integrated, efficient bus, tram, cycle and electrified rail networks to our cities.
Upgraded intercity rail routes to ensure that intercity rail journeys are faster than their equivalent by road.
Tackling the immediate crisis in the Greater Dublin Area by:
Increasing the current Dublin Bus fleet by 50 per cent, or 500 buses.
Devoting more road space to buses, similar to that allocated to Luas, to enable them to travel faster and arrive at predictable intervals. Extending the Dublin Bus network to major residential areas within a 25 mile radius of the city.
Introducing a €1 adult fare and 50 cent children's fare on the entire Dublin Bus network within this 25 mile radius.
Expanded transport of freight by rail through the development of incentives.
Housing (Stamp Duty) (FG + Lab Joint Policy)
Raising the stamp duty exemption limit for first-time buyers of second hand homes to €450,000.
Simplifying stamp duty rates by reducing the number of rates from 7 to 3. The new rates will be 0%, 5% and 9%.
Making stamp duty fairer so that you only pay the higher rate on the portion of the price over each threshold and not on the entire purchase price. Under Fine Gael's proposals, the first €100,000 is zero rated, the next €350,000 is paid at 5% and the balance is charged at 9%.
Housing (Labour only)
A new “Begin to Buy” purchase option which will enable people to start purchasing a home as soon as they are in fulltime employment, and will enable them to increase their equity in the home as their incomes increase and as their financial circumstances improve.
A New Tenant Purchase Scheme for tenants of local authorities and tenants of Voluntary and Co-operative Housing Schemes.
Tenant Purchase in the Private Sector. Will encourage the sale of privately rented dwellings to existing tenants
6,000 Affordable Homes each year, by requiring developers to commit to their obligations, before planning permission is granted and not after.
Zoning- Future decisions on new land zonings and on increased residential density should reflect this reality, by increasing to 50%, where necessary, the amount of development land to be reserved for Social and Affordable Housing.
Compulsory purchase of bulding land in “affordability black-spots”
No surplus State owned land, which is intended to be developed for housing, to be sold into the private market.
10,000 social housing units
Environment and Energy
Legislation to legally underpin Ireland's carbon reduction targets
A National Forum on Climate Change to build the national consensus required to reach our targets
An Environmental Pillar in the Social Partnership process.
To meet our 2008-2012 Kyoto target of annual greenhouse gas emissions of 63 Mt CO2e per annum (or +13 per cent relative to 1990) by 2012
To reach 1990-level greenhouse gas emissions by 2016
A reduction in CO2 up to 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020
To make Ireland a carbon neutral economy by 2030
A Climate Change Bill setting out legally binding emission reduction targets in five-yearly budgets.
A new Department of Energy and Climate Change.
A 50 per cent target for electricity generation from renewable sources by 2020.
At least 500 MW of interconnection between Ireland and Britain by 2012 and progressively increase our interconnection capacity with mainland Europe.
All Area Development Plans to incorporate micro-generation, such as small-scale Combined Heat and Power plants, anaerobic digesters or domestic energy generation from solar or biomass into all new residential and commercial developments.
A new mandate for ESB to develop indigenous sources of renewable energy with special emphasis on marine technology.
A Centre of Excellence for renewable technology in Ireland with a specific focus on developing technologies not currently commercially deployable and our energy storage capacity.
Significantly increased funding for R&D in renewable energy and energy-related technologies to progress towards our goal of being a world leader in this emerging market.
All new homes to be built to a passive house standard from 2012.
Revised building regulations from 2008 so that all new homes use 60 per cent less energy for space and water heating than houses built to current building standards.
A radical overhaul of the Greener Homes scheme to achieve 'whole house' emissions reductions and energy saving measures.
The inclusion of heating systems run on renewable energy in the Warmer Homes Scheme.
All new commercial and public buildings, where practicable, to be carbon neutral (i.e. with low energy requirements served by renewable heat and electricity sources) by 2012.
Ensuring there are sufficient trained local authority building inspectors to enforce regulations.
A ban on the use of hollow blocks in the construction or extension of residential, commercial and public buildings.
An energy audit of all public buildings and retrofitting to a high standard of energy efficiency within our first term of government.
In partnership with ESB we will roll out a national programme to install a smart meter, showing real-time use of electricity, in every household in the country.
Incandescent light bulbs to be phased out by 2012.
Planning permission for residential developments to be linked to the provision of public transport, schools, healthcare, recreational areas and sources of local employment
Commercial developments will be required to have good public transport links before they are given planning permission in order to minimise the car-dependency of their employees and customers.
Clustered rural and urban development to be achieved through pro-active planning for communities.
A Fair Deal For Communities - The revitalisation of area-based interventions in areas and neighbourhoods of chronic multiple deprivation, including in the delivery and provision of such services in deprived areas.
Labour commits itself to ending homelessness in the life of the next Government.
Approximately 60,000 households are in receipt of Rent Allowance or Rent Supplement, at a cost to the State of around 400 million per annum. However, anyone who takes up full time employment will lose all of their rent allowance regardless of the amount of income they receive. The Rent Allowance scheme as currently operated acts as a disincentive to work and as a poverty trap. The Labour Party will replace the Rent Allowance system with a new form of Housing Support, which will be related to the household's income regardless of source, and to the household's housing needs.
Children and Childcare
Paid Parental Leave, modelled on Maternity Benefit, paid from social insurance, for up to one year, with an option for fathers to take part of that time.
An Early Years Subsidy of €50 per week for each child, payable to all parents from the expiration of maternity leave (or from birth, where a mother does not receive Maternity Benefit) until the child enters state-subsidised pre-school
An Early Years Subsidy of €25 per week for each child payable to all parents for primary school children up to the age of 12.
Provide one year of free pre-school education (five half days per week) for every child.
Establish a register of all childcare facilities and providers, including for over-6s, as the basis on which there can be positive engagement to enhance skills
Bring childminders out of the black economy by allowing up to €8,000 per annum to be earned tax free from childcare in the home.
Garda clearance for all childcare staff
Reform of the existing work permit system so that it becomes a Green Card system which does not bind workers to a particular job.
Collection of better data on labour market conditions in order to accurately measure the extent of displacement and wage degradation.
Ireland should sign up to the International Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and enshrine its protections in our domestic laws.
Public Finances and Waste
The Taoiseach and Tánaiste will have a central role in setting a targeted set of strategic priorities for the government and will then assess ministers' performances against key high-level targets.
The role of the Department of Finance will be enhanced as a monitor of public spending as well as a promoter of economic and social development.
Up to 2% of government spending will be held back each year as a Strategic Reserve Fund and allocated to achieve a strategic shift in policy where ‘value-for-money' can be shown.
A new Gateway System for major capital projects will be introduced to enhance accountability and pin down responsibilities
A new Traffic Light Reporting system will keep the public informed on capital projects under construction
The capacity of the civil service will be enhanced through open recruitment at senior levels and greater professionalism of key functions.