PEOPLE Before Profit has proposed nationalising utility companies, capping electricity and gas bills and giving every household a €1,000 energy credit in Budget 2023.
he party has outlined an alternative budget package of €25 billion in new tax measures – in addition to what the Government proposes to spend in next week’s Budget – that would fund a spending package of €32.5 billion.
This would include increasing all social welfare rates to a minimum of €300 per week and €350 for those with disabilities.
The party is also proposing to impose rent controls and to double social and affordable housing provision, including the acquisition of homes where tenants who receive the housing assistance payment (HAP) or the rental accommodation scheme (RAS) are facing eviction. People Before Profit also wants to introduce free public transport, abolish carbon taxes, introduce free GP care for all, restore the pension age to 65, and abolish the universal social charge.
PBP’s environment spokesperson Bríd Smith said that making public transport free would cost €500 million while the abolition of the “fundamentally unfair” carbon tax would cost €761 million.
The measures would be paid for by an increase in corporation tax to 20pc, four new tax bands for those earning €100,000 a year or more, a tax on commercial aviation, an increase in employers’ PRSI, and an increase capital gains tax, among other measures.
Among the most eye-catching proposals by the far-left party is to nationalise the utility sector by in the first instance removing the commercial mandate of the ESB with €2.5 billion allocated to control prices in the energy sector.
Mandating ESB to act on a not-for-profit basis would drive down prices from competitors who would then be bought out of the market under the plans, the party explained.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said: “We are talking about full scale renationalisation. Let’s call it what it is, we used to have a nationalised energy sector. We privatised and deregulated that sector. It’s been a failure.
“It was supposed to benefit consumers, competition was supposed to lead to lower energy and electricity prices. In fact, they’ve gone consistently up since the sector was deregulated. So we want to reverse that process particularly in the face of the current crisis.”
Mr Boyd-Barrett hit out at the “utterly obscene profits of energy companies”.
His party colleague Paul Murphy said that everyone in the country would be “lifted out of poverty” by across the board welfare increases.
Mr Boyd-Barrett said the party’s proposals amounted to an “investment now to save money down the line”.