Fianna Fáil’s management of state finances leaves a lot to be desired – Morgan
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has lambasted the Government's ability to manage the state's finances, after reports today that additional and significant amounts of public funds may be needed to pay for rising unemployment benefit this year. Morgan said that all the economic jargon in the world can not take away from the fact that Fianna Fail does not know what it is talking about when it comes to managing the economy.
Morgan said, "In advance of last year's general election Fianna Fáil made a raft of desperate and irresponsible promises to the electorate, which included a plan to slash PRSI contributions. PRSI goes into a social insurance fund from which social welfare and pension payments are drawn. We pointed out at the time, the only party to do so, that these cuts would seriously impact on the state's ability to meet growing welfare and pension demands.
"Late last year, in a reply to a parliamentary question regarding the Actuarial Review of the Social Insurance Fund, Minister for Social and Family Affairs Martin Cullen acknowledged that the Social Insurance Fund would diminish over the coming years with the Government's planned PRSI cuts, but claimed that the Exchequer would meet the shortfall.
"Today we have a spokesperson for Martin Cullen saying that additional funds may be drawn down from the social insurance fund for social insurance schemes such as jobseeker's benefit, if and when this becomes necessary.
"The Live Register shows us today that unemployment figures are at an eight-year high - and that the number is growing. I would say that it could be necessary quite shortly.
"The Minister's response, last year and today, shows how much of a clue his Government has about running the exchequer. First they want to reduce the social insurance fund, then they want to use it for growing unemployment, that, in itself, they have done nothing to fix because they have been in denial about the economic slowdown.
"The Government prides itself on the running of the economy - yet it has not even provided for alternative employment in vulnerable sectors like construction, despite every indicator that it should. We can see from reports today that all the economic jargon in the world can not take away from the fact that Fianna Fáil does not know what it is talking about when it comes to managing the economy." ENDS