Fragile, but welcome economic growth must be directed into health, housing, and investment – Doherty
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the Stability Programme Update (SPU) shows that the fragile economic growth that is in the economy must be directed into solving the health, housing and cost of living crises, and leveraged into long term investment. The Donegal TD said that the Rainy Day Fund idea must now be scrapped.
Deputy Doherty said:
“I welcome the indications in the SPU that further fragile growth is predicted over the next period. As the report makes clear, the extra boost in predicted growth in 2018 is based on export figures, which are wildly unpredictable and unreflective of our real economic conditions given their link to multinationals, and on a benign global context. Neither of these elements are guaranteed to still be in place next year.
“The challenge is to direct this growth into solving our health, housing, and cost of living crises through government action. However, from past experience, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail will squander this growth favouring unsustainable tax cuts over investment.
“The report also shows why the so called Rainy Day fund must be scrapped. The €0.5bn to be put aside next year will only be money diverted from services. It is more akin to a black hole than a rainy day fund. It is raining now for the 10,000 homeless people, the hundreds of thousands on waiting lists, and the hundreds of trollies every day in our hospitals. It is an insult to these people to say that the people’s money is better locked away.
“I am concerned that the excise and stamp duty figures are behind profile. Sinn Féin warned that this could be the case. While other taxes might compensate this year, if this pattern becomes clear for the coming years, other taxes or services will have to make up the difference.
“The economic recovery must be matched by a social recovery. That means taking a clear decision to direct the benefits of growth into solving the health, housing and cost of living crises instead of repeating past mistakes.”