The Social Democrats Party Conference has heard calls on the State to play a decisive role in providing healthcare, housing and childcare.

In a joint key-note speech this evening the party's co-leaders. Róisín Shortall and Catherine Murphy said for too long, the State has out sourced its responsibilities to the private market.

The rising cost of living was the central theme of this conference held in Dublin city centre.

Ms Shortall told delegates this evening that this generation of young people will be the first "who will be worse off than their parents".

The Social Democrats co-leader was applauded by 300 delegates when she said the full implementation of Sláintecare would be a red line issue for the party joining any future Government.

In the short term the party wants a €300 refundable tax credit for those earning up to €50,000.

It is proposing a hardship fund so those at risk of fuel or food poverty can access emergency payments quickly.

And an immediate €10 increase on core social welfare rates, like pensions.

Beyond those proposals, the party wants publicly funded childcare, a cut to university fees, a living wage along with a windfall tax on energy companies.

Catherine Murphy called on Government to do everything it can to drive down the price of housing and to introduce a three-year ban on rent increases.

Wicklow TD Jennifer Whitmore said many households are just unable to reduce the amount they have to pay for food and transport.

She told the conference this is leading to people having to decide if they should pay electricity bills or eat.

Dublin Central TD Gary Gannon called for fully funded education which would see the State cover the costs of books and uniforms.

He said mothers and fathers are already stressed about the cost of sending their children back to school in September.

Rising costs are also having a profound impact on those with disabilities.

Cork South West TD Holly Cairns said people with disabilities should have a right to education and to live independently and this requires the Government to fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

The party's Housing Spokesperson, Cian O'Callaghan, told delegates that a tax on vacant homes could free up tens of thousands of homes nationwide.