Labour leader Brendan Howlin has launched his party's alternative budget plans for 2017 with €1.74 billion additional spending proposals.

The plan focuses on a 70 to 30% split between current and capital spending with no income tax cuts planned for next year, except tax measures for the self employed.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Howlin said it was clear that a tax cut that would "barely cover the cost of a cup of coffee each week", and was a poor trade off against investment in some key areas.

No plan for first time buyers was put forward and Mr Howlin said the key issue was supply.

The party also aims to spend €177 million on a universal childcare plan for all families with children under 12 years, and to provide an additional month of shared parental leave.

It also proposes a €5 weekly increase in the old age pension and child benefit and the indexation of all welfare payments.

Labour is also proposing to reintroduce free dental benefits for those in work, a reduction in class sizes and the student contribution and investment in cycling and roads.

It also suggests a reduction to €1 per item in prescription charges and monthly cap of €10.

Investing an additional €375 million in health, including more homecare and home help packages, is also proposed.

The party proposes to double the earned income tax credit for the self employed and increase the bank levy.

Furthermore an increase in the threshold for inheritance tax is proposed.

Labour's former leader and former minister for social protection, Joan Burton, appealed to Minister Leo Varadkar to restore the full Christmas bonus.

It was restored by 75% in last year's budget. Ms Burton said the move would affect a large number of people.

The Social Democrats, meanwhile, are proposing €330 million worth of measures to reduce the cost of living and over a billion euro of extra capital investment.

Speaking at the launch of their alternative budget published this morning, Catherine Murphy, one of the party's two TDs said people wanted big items like housing and health dealt with.

Ms Murphy said the Social Democrat's focus was on reducing the cost of living and putting money back into people’s pockets through initiatives rather than tax cuts.

Speaking at the launch of their alternative budget published this morning, Catherine Murphy, one of the party's two TDs said people wanted big items like housing and health dealt with.

Ms Murphy said the Social Democrat's focus was on reducing the cost of living and putting money back into people’s pockets through initiatives rather than tax cuts.