Fiscal Council cuts through government spin and show real cuts ahead – Doherty
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the latest report by the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council cuts through the government spin and shows that real cuts lie ahead. He called on the government to give a response to the Fiscal Council’s assertion that the Stability Programme Update’s projections if carried through would lead to real per capita cuts and a breaking of the EU's budgetary rules.
Deputy Doherty said:
“I welcome the thorough analysis of the Fiscal Council. They cut through the government spin and show that real cuts lie ahead for many. Their analysis of the real cuts in spending echo Sinn Féin’s analysis at the time of the Spring Statement.
“I am calling on Minister Noonan now to respond immediately to these very important warnings. I will be pressing him on these issues when the Dáil resumes. He should state whether he will proceed on the basis that spending in real terms will continue to be cut and if so admit that this government has no intention of restoring services or creating a fair recovery. He should also state whether he agrees with the Fiscal Council’s analysis that his policy will lead to the State breaking the EU’s budgetary rules.
“The Fiscal Council has issued warnings about the lack of transparency in future spending figures in the past. So has the EU Commission, yet the government is in denial that it is planning significant cuts in real terms if re-elected. That lie should be now laid to rest.
“The Fiscal Council says the government has not taken account of the likely cost and demographic pressures on key areas of government spending. In effect, it argues that the government’s projected increases in nominal spending are not sufficient to meet inflation and the rising and aging population. There will be cuts in real, per capita terms. That means less investment in our schools, hospitals and other public services.
“It is a twisted mentality that after many years of harsh and useless austerity prioritises tax cuts for higher earners over restoring public services or essential benefits for the vulnerable. We need a real debate on how the recovery can be made fair. Once again we have ample evidence that this government is not up to that task.
“The damning indictment of the Fiscal Council that ‘the government’s plan in Stability Programme Update 2015 (SPU 2015) for 2016 is not in line with the requirements of the domestic Budgetary Rule or the Preventive Arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) on a forward-looking basis’ is as strong a condemnation one will find from the Council.”