News & Media

Budget should have increased Bank Levy

8 October 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Reacting to Budget 2020, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, said that Fine Gael’s failure to raise the Bank Levy means that banks are making massive profits while the government has delivered an effective cut to social welfare.

Brendan said: “The banks are making profits of hundreds of millions and are not paying any corporation tax because they are still writing off their losses from the crash. Instead of keeping the bank levy at €150 million, Labour would have raised it to €400 million so that the banks repay some of their enormous debt to society.

“That amount of money would have allowed the government to raise social welfare across the board to offset rises in the cost of living.

“Instead, Fine Gael – supported by Fianna Fáil – have delivered nothing for most people who rely on social welfare, including pensioner couples, carers and people with disabilities. In fact, with inflation at 1.5%, and higher in the event of a no deal Brexit, Fine Gael have delivered a cut in social welfare in real terms.

“With Fine Gael’s plan to delay raising the minimum wage, low paid workers are equally vulnerable to the rising cost of living.

“A hard Brexit will cause foods from the UK to rise in price, meaning more for the weekly shop. But Fine Gael’s so-called Brexit budget has done nothing to protect low paid workers and people who rely on welfare from these extra costs."