Fiscal Council provides “ a massive reality check” on Fine Gael promises - Doherty
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty has said today's attack on the government’s forecasts by the Fiscal Council provides “a massive reality check” to Fine Gael. He said the report makes it clearer than ever that any party promising huge tax cuts while committing to dealing with our homelessness crisis, the cost of childcare and the inequalities in our Health system are simply being dishonest.
Deputy Doherty said even before the Fiscal Council's intervention the fiscal space was so limited as to make the promises on Fine Gael on tax unbelievable.
"The Fiscal Council have once again had to provide a reality check on the increasingly irresponsible and unrealistic promise of Fine Gael, that they can drastically cut taxes without damaging public services. We have a housing and homelessness crisis and families are struggling with the cost of childcare while the wheels are literally falling off our health service. Today’s reality check shows us that cutting taxes in a way that favours the better off is not a valid option for any party seeking to build a fair recovery.
“As the report states, cutting government spending by five percentage points of GDP by 2021 “is not realistic given underlying expenditure pressures that are likely to emerge in the coming years.” In other words the figures simply don’t add up for Fine Gael’s promises to cut taxes while protecting public services.
“The upcoming election is now boiling down to a choice between a Fine Gael party intent on slashing taxes for the better off regardless of the social and economic cost, or a government led by Sinn Féin which will invest in the country in a responsible and long term way and actually take on the crises in health, housing and childcare, to name but three.
“While Sinn Féin accepts that the fiscal rules have to be respected broadly, it is increasingly clear that they have these rules have potential to restrict essential public investment, as we pointed out at the time of the Austerity Treaty. Regardless of the details however, the choice between investment and unsustainable promises is becoming clearer day by day.
“I look forward to engaging with the Fiscal Council in the Finance Committee next week to see why they, like the opposition parties, are being kept in the dark and to find out why their reports differ so widely from the government spin.”