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Working our way to recovery - Budget 2014

Posted on October 15, 2013 at 06:42 PM

Over the last two and a half years Ireland has made enormous progress and at the end of this year we are poised to regain control of our economy. This is the last of the bailout budgets and the treatment has been tough. It has been hard to do what is necessary but it is working and it will work. The economy is growing and we are creating jobs and reducing unemployment. We are working our way to recovery.

In Budget 2014 we are putting our efforts into making it easier for people to manage. We are helping those who qualify for nothing but have to pay for everything. Where people are struggling and working hard to make ends meet, the Government is doing what it can to ease that burden.

Speaking this afternoon during his Budget speech Minister Howlin said: “This is the last of our Budgets under the fiscal restraints of the troika programme. We have made good on our commitments to the international community that has supported us. We do not underestimate this effort. It is a testament to the fortitude of the Irish people.

“‘No austerity’ is the catch-cry of those that have argued that there were alternative strategies available to this Government. Nobody is ideologically committed to austerity. Austerity is what is left, after the Fianna Fail Government drove the economy into the ground.

“Our task now is to plan for the future. We must ensure that the sacrifices of the last few years are not in vain and that we use the progress made as a platform for future growth and development.” (Minister Brendan Howlin's speech is available to view in the accompanying video, or you can read his speech from our media centre.)

Among the key initiatives announced today include:

  • Free GP care for children aged five and under as the first phase of our plan for universal primary care.
  • Class sizes are protected.
  • School book rental scheme for every primary school.
  • Core social welfare payments maintained.
  • €1b being spent on job activation measures for over 850,000 people.
  • Child benefit, fuel allowance, free travel, free TV licence maintained in full.
  • Extra weekly payment for caring for more than one person maintained in full.
  • Under Labour 500 additional resource teachers are being recruited immediately with a further 500 to be recruited in September 2014.
  • Investment of €40m for the Prefab Replacement Scheme so far benefiting 123 schools.
  • €9m to ensure that every child leaves school with high levels of literacy and numeracy.
  • Flagship Grangegorman DIT project valued at €200m
  • A new scheme to help more than 2,000 SMEs do business online
  • €57m on jobs rich energy efficiency measures so as to provide warmer homes.
  • €30m social housing in 2014 to increase local authority housing supply.
  • €10m to invest in public infrastructure works to complete unfinished estates where no development bond exists.

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