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Exchequer figures reflect robustness of public finances but unequal economic impact of the pandemic – Pearse Doherty TD

5 January, 2021 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has commented on Exchequer figures published today by the Department of Finance.

The Exchequer figures show a decrease of only 1% in income tax receipts despite an expected unemployment rate of 20% for the end of the year.

The Donegal TD welcomed a smaller than expected deficit of 5.5%, strengthening the ability of the State to protect incomes and support jobs throughout, and after, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teachta Doherty said:
“Today’s Exchequer figures published by the Department of Finance reveal the unequal impact of this pandemic on our economy.

“Despite expected unemployment of 20% for the end of 2020, income tax receipts dropped by only 1% compared to 2019.

“This reflects the fact that job and income loss have been disproportionately felt by young and low-income workers.

“While VAT receipts have fallen by 18%, corporation tax enjoyed another bumper year, up by nearly €1 billion.

“This reflects the fact that COVID-19 and public health restrictions have damaged domestic firms and SMEs while leaving much of the multinational sector virtually untouched.

“This mixed picture, while good news for the public finances, reveals the uneven impact of this pandemic.

“Further surges in house prices show that, just as before COVID-19 struck, young and low-paid workers continue to lose out.

“A 25% increase in net voted expenditure reflects the interventions and supports put in place in response to this crisis. These were essential to protect jobs, support incomes and save lives.

“Sinn Féin argued strongly for the restoration of the higher rates of both the PUP and Wage Subsidy Scheme after they were cut in the summer by the Government.

“We welcomed the Government’s adoption of these policies.

“These Exchequer figures show that the public finances remain robust, further supported by ECB policy which has kept the cost of borrowing low.

“This is underscored by the €5.5 billion raised today by the NTMA at negative interest to fund public spending in 2021.

“As we emerge from this crisis, Sinn Féin will work for a fair recovery for workers and families, building an economy that is stronger, fairer and better."

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