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Fiscal Council injects a bit of reality into government’s uncosted fantasy wish list - Doherty

8 June, 2016 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the Fiscal Council’s latest report should act as a reality injection for the new Fine Gael government and their allies in budgetary matters,  Fianna Fáil, about what is and is what is not realistic over the coming years. He said the uncosted wish list that passes for a Programme for Government is now not worth the paper it is printed on.

Deputy Doherty said:

“I welcome as always the diligent appraisal by the Fiscal Council of where the country’s finances are at the moment. Their latest warnings should not be allowed to gather dust along with previous warnings. They should act as a reality injection for this new government.

“Recently I asked each Minister to provide a cost for the elements from their Department in the Programme for Government. Only the Minister for Public Expenditure even attempted to answer - but a vaguer, less informative reply I have never seen. It is clear that the fantasy wish list they call a Programme for Government is not worth the paper it is written on.

“This government simply has no idea how much the things it says it wants to do will cost. The exception of course is the phasing out of USC which by 2021 could be bringing in to the State an extra €5.6bn based on non-indexation. There is a deep contradiction between what the government says it is going to do to the tax base and what the Fiscal Council has painted as the reality of ever increasing costs just to stand still in today’s report.

“This report follows on the heels of an OECD report which carried similar warnings about the direction of this government. Much of the election was fought on the issue of fiscal space and how it was to be used. Fine Gael and their partners in government and outside government must get back down to reality and back to basic planning by showing how they will fund their tax cut and spending plans. As the silence from Ministers to my basic questions have shown, they have no answer to the simple question of how they will pay for what they say they will do.”

“I will be requesting that the Fiscal Council are among the very first invitees to the incoming Finance Committee so these issues can be thrashed out in full in public as soon as possible.”

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