Noonan’s dodgy figures show he hasn’t learned the lesson from the election - Pearse Doherty TD
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty has responded to reports that Michael Noonan has told independent TDs that there will be €1bn to spend on tax and spending in the next Budget.
Deputy Doherty said a PQ response from Minister Noonan just last week confirmed that there would be half a billion euro of space for the next budget.
Deputy Doherty said:
“Here we are again watching Michael Noonan inflate the money available to the next Minister for Finance in a desperate political spinning exercise. The fact is last week the Minister confirmed to me that there will be half a billion of space available for the next budget. It is time Michael Noonan learned the lesson of the election and stopped trying to spoof on the figures.
“The facts are that factoring in current government spending commitments and future demands on services from demographics there is €500 million available for next year according to the Department of Finance.
“More important is the issue of how this money will be spent. This proposed dividing up of this €500 million by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil shows that they are two sides of the same coin, with a commitment to maintaining inequality and the profound crises we have in housing and health.
“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are united in their commitment to abolishing USC for those earning up to 80,000 with Fine Gael actually committed to go further. A 1% cut to the three USC rates applying to this level would cost in excess of half a billion euro.
“A 1% cut costing to the lower rate of USC would cost €173 million, a cut from 3% to 2% in the second rate costs €109 million and a decrease in the third rate from 5.5% to 4.5% will cost €253 million.
“These costings show that the majority if not all of our fiscal space might be eaten up with cuts to the USC rather than tackling our housing or health crises. That is before the recent speculation around public service pay and health overspend are even considered.”
PQ Response from Minister Noonan last week:
Estimates of the fiscal space for the period 2017 to 2021 were provided in the documentation accompanying the Budget last October. These remain the most up-to-date estimates. On this basis, after providing for pre-committed expenditure (demographics, pay increases under the Lansdowne Road Agreement, expenditure increases as part of the Public Capital Programme), net fiscal space for 2017 was estimated at around €500 million.