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Government’s pre-budget outlook a ‘charade’ – Morgan

12 November, 2009

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan has slammed the government’s pre-budget outlook as a ‘charade’, saying it completely ignores the cost implications of NAMA, which is in the final stages of passing through the Houses of the Oireachtas today. Morgan said the document is full of attempts to justify government policy, yet states how this policy has negatively impacted on the economy.

Morgan said:

“This pre-Budget outlook is a charade. Continuous reference is made to NAMA being a separate matter from the public finances. The Special Purposes Vehicle that the government has established for NAMA to push it through its final stages of parliament today is a ruse. This state will borrow €54 billion to pay for NAMA and that is not included anywhere in this document, as it lectures us on fiscal prudence.

“The fact is, the last two emergency budgets brought forward by this government have actually made our economy worse. Measures like increasing VAT last October put the final nail in consumption and the levy increase on low earners in April, further hit consumption taxes, which have all contributed to deflating the economy and deepening the recession. In April they said their measures would leave us with a General Government Balance of -10.75. Now they say it will be -12. They are admitting that their policies do not work.

“Most of this document is the Department of Finance trying to justify policy decisions. So we read we have a narrow tax base, then we read that taxes cannot help to reduce the deficit, ‘unpalatable’ decisions must be taken. I put it to this government that cutting social welfare leaves no bad taste in their mouths. They only policy which would create a knot in Brian Lenihan’s stomach would be one that raised tax on those who can afford to pay more.

“The lies and the myths coming out of the Department of Finance as it attempts to legitimise and prepare the public for the harshest budget in decades, must be challenged. Every step this government has taken to date has been regressive. The measures they take in this budget will leave us facing more ‘unpalatable’ decisions in December 2010. This government is not being led by fiscal prudence at this point in time. It is being led by an ideological position which chooses to target the least well off rather than show any kind of patriotism or vision for this country.” ENDS

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