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Government failure to tackle job losses in Budget staggering

7 April, 2009


Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson Arthur Morgan has said there is no justice in today’s budget.  Fianna Fáil and the Green Party have failed those who are most in need, failed working families struggling to pay staggering childcare and mortgage bills, failed small and medium businesses at risk of going to the wall. Today’s budget failed to bring forward any real strategy to turn the economy around or to improve the country’s damaged international reputation. Deputy Morgan added “There was a better way but the government chose to ignore it.”

Deputy Morgan said:

“There is no justice in this budget.  Fianna Fáil and the Green Party have cynically targeted workers surviving on a little over €41 a day. They have targeted young families struggling to pay for childcare.  They have targeted young families struggling to pay their mortgage.  They have penalised teenagers on the job seekers allowance. And removing the December bonus for those in long term receipt of social welfare will force vulnerable families into the hands of money lenders.  These families did not cause this economic crisis but are now being asked by this government to carry the can for their failure.

“They should have completely removed the PRSI ceiling.  That would have absolved the need to bring those on the minimum wage into the tax net. They should have introduced a 48% tax rate for those earning more than €100,000 a year.  They should have ensured that all discretionary tax reliefs were claimed at the standard rate. They should have done more in relation to Capital Gains Tax. These measures would have ensured fairness and helped address the crisis in public finances.

“372,800 people are unemployed in this state. Retraining measures announced today wouldn’t even help all those who lost their jobs in January or February never mind the hundreds of thousands who are unemployed.  The government has failed to address this crisis.  There was no innovative thinking.  No job creation strategy.  No proper proposals.   The €100 million enterprise fund will by-pass the vast majority of Irish small and medium business as it only focuses on firms already exporting. Thousands of small businesses are on their knees and the government has done nothing for them today.

“The failure in relation to job creation is staggering.  The government are cutting €200 million from the environment budget, principally social housing and water infrastructure.  They are cutting €54 million from the school build programme.  They are cutting €13 million from Sustainable Energy and Energy research programmes. They are cutting €300 million from public transport.  If the government is serious about addressing the unemployment crisis and improving competitiveness they should be doing the exact opposite of what was announced today. They talk about the smart economy and competitiveness but the reality is that it will be harder for business to engage in R& D and in innovation which are meant to be key elements of the government’s strategy.

“The get out of jail clause given to the banks after years of reckless property lending leaves the tax payer saddled with a €90 billion debt. They are nationalising debt and privatising profit. But the government ignore those struggling to survive.  They have no proposals to deal with the fact that there is a six week waiting lists for MABs to even answer a query.

“Today’s budget will not restore Ireland’s international reputation.  Our reputation internationally has been damaged by this government’s failure to manage the economy, by this government’s failure to regulate the financial sector, by this government’s over reliance on construction, by this government’s shambolic handling of the public finances.

“This state’s economic difficulties have nothing to do with the Lisbon Treaty. In fact if the Lisbon Treaty had been passed the country’s economy would be in an even more perilous situation today.  Brian Lenihan spoke today as if his party had not been in government for more than a decade, as if it was not him and his colleagues who were responsible for the crisis that the country is now going through.  There was a better way but the government choose to ignore it today.” ENDS

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