SF reveals €7.6bn stimulus plan as part of budget proposals

Today Sinn Féin launched its budget proposals for 2011, which includes a €7.6bn economic stimulus package over three and a half years. Funding for the stimulus plan would come predominately from the National Pension Reserve Fund (€7bn) with the remainder being raised through tax increases and cost-cutting measures in areas such as healthcare and education. By Alison Spillane.

Among the measures proposed are the introduction of a higher rate of income tax (48%) on earnings in excess of €100,000 and an income-linked wealth tax of 1% on assets of over €1 million, excluding farmland.

Speaking at today's launch, SF President Gerry Adams said, "Sinn Féin's proposals are a credible alternative to the cosy consensus for cuts which has put our economy in such crisis."

He reiterated the party's decision not to support the target of reducing the country's deficit to 3% by 2014; Sinn Féin is the only parliamentary party not to agree to the timescale. Instead, it proposes a six-year plan which would reach the 3% target by 2016.

The budget proposals also include an easing of the moratorium on public service recruitment in frontline areas such as education, health, and gardaí. The cost of this measure is estimated at €150 million.

Other key expenditures are the introduction of refundable tax credits at a cost of €140 million and the reinstatement of the additional social welfare payment at Christmas paid to pensioners and welfare recipients (€226 million).

The above measures would form part of SF's €595 million financial stimulus plan whilst the €7bn from the NPRF would go towards employment/infrastructure provision. €2bn would be allocated for employment stimulus in 2011.

In terms of public spending savings, SF says €6 million could be saved by capping ministerial salaries at €100,000; TDs' salaries at €75,000; and senators' salaries at €60,000. €350 million could be raised for the Exchequer if the salaries of senior civil servants and employees in semi-state bodies were capped at €100,000.

The proposals can be read in full here.