Labour councillor calls for July Stimulus to ‘put money in pockets’

Conor Sheehan, Limerick City North Candidate Picture Brendan Gleeson

WITH Government set to announce the July Stimulus package this Thursday, July 23, a Limerick Labour councillor has called for the government to “put money in the pockets of low-income households”

Speaking about Labour’s five tests for the Government’s July Stimulus due on Thursday, the Limerick City North representative called for the Government to put money in the pockets of low-income households, saying they know the money will be spent locally, boosting shop, business and local towns and villages.

Cllr Sheehan said Labour’s five tests will determine if the Government “is serious about changing our economy for the better following COVID-19” or not.

“We know the huge impact it has had here, with so many people out of work or just barely keeping things going,” he said, “If we don’t act now to save jobs, the unemployment caused by COVID-19 will increase poverty and hardship, and the Government must take strong action to reverse this. It’s now or never. We can’t afford to get this wrong.”

Labour has called for a further €10 per week to be added to “all core social welfare payments” in the stimulus.

He said, “These payments have fallen behind the cost of living and now is the time to close that gap. There was no increase in social welfare payments in last year’s budget and targeting the funds in this way ensures it will be spent in the local economy.”

The Labour councillor believes those who rely on social welfare payments are “most likely to spend their money on essential goods and services locally” and “we need people to spend locally to support businesses that are on the edge due to COVID-19”.

Cllr Sheehan has also called for an investment package for local schools to ensure a safe reopening in September.

Sheehan said, “Labour has also called for investment in public services like schools, health centres and public transport, which are essential to reduce inequality and to provide everyone with a decent standard of living.

“The Government could and should use the July stimulus to allocate funding to Shannon Heritage to keep King Johns Castle and Bunratty open past August 31 and save these important local jobs in the tourism industry.”

Labour’s Five Tests for Government’s July Stimulus plan are:

  1. The stimulus must be big enough to counteract the negative impact of COVID-19 and Brexit on jobs, businesses and household finances.
  2. The stimulus must be directed at the creation of good quality jobs, especially for younger workers.
  3. The goal must be to create a new economic model, based on lifelong learning, caring and sustainability.
  4. Stimulus measures must reduce economic inequality.
  5. The stimulus must strengthen public services, including a single-tier public health system, a safe return to school in September and major investment in public housing.