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Budget 2009 - Government looks set to turn its back on job creation

14 October, 2008

Speaking ahead of this afternoon's budget announcement Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has criticised the government for appearing to turn its back on job creation describing Budget 2009 as "looking set to be typically short-sighted and based solely on balancing the books."

Speaking from Leinster House Deputy Morgan said:

"Budget 2009 should be viewed by government as an opportunity to turn around the Irish economy. Its aim should be to stabilise and re-invigorate the economy. It should be about prioritising job creation and addressing the massive shortfall in public finances. The needs of low to middle income earning facing substantial cost-of-living pressures should be addressed and solutions provided for the increasing numbers of unemployed. The most vulnerable in Irish society need to be protected.

"In short this should be a budget that takes the economy by its short collars, but it appears that government has chosen instead to pummel it with drastic cuts and substantial hikes in indirect taxation.

"Much of the discussion in the lead up to today's Budget has centred on the need for spending cuts and a stimulus package for the plummeting property market. This approach has been typically short-sighted and based solely on balancing the books. The government has never taken a medium to long term approach to building the Irish economy and it appears from media reports on the budget highlights that the Finance Minister has also decided to hitch his wagon to this failed model.

"It appears job creation and enterprise has been overlooked as the main means by which we can rebuild the states struggling economy and in turn create revenue while lessening the pressure on social welfare expenditure. In the party's pre Budget submission Sinn Féin paid particular attention to a number of job creation measures government could undertake.

"Ireland's underperforming indigenous export sector is crying out for government intervention and stimulus. There is also an opportunity to create employment within the domestic manufacturing sector, particularly the food and drinks processing industry through import substitution initiatives. By restructuring the states enterprise boards under one agency and budget, while keeping their individual areas of expertise, an accessible one stop shop for all business start ups and support could be provided. Government should invest in Intertrade Ireland to drive forward the all-island economy. The Finance Minister with his bolstered powers of the finance sector could instruct banks to redirect their lending business away from the construction sector and towards small to medium enterprises, particularly in the manufacturing and export sector. A retrained and up-skilled labour force could populate these industries.

"Rather than reversing the current recession the government seems intent on deepening it." ENDS

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