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Government must use Exchequer Returns for vital needs such as Housing and Health

4 September 2017

Statement by Joan Burton TD
Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Arts

Labour spokesperson on Finance, Joan Burton TD, has said today's positive Exchequer returns figures would allow for vital spending in areas such as Housing and Health in the upcoming Budget. 

Deputy Burton commented:

"Today’s Exchequer figures are the second last returns before the budget in October. As such they indicate an economy that is on track to meet financial and budgetary targets. Today’s returns also foreshadow a large cash influx for the Minister for Finance from the self-employed that will not materialise until November, after the budget. 

"This means that Taoiseach Varadkar and Minister Donohue will have considerable leeway to expand the country’s spending base, but won’t have to disclose that until the Budget or even later. This makes a farce of “new politics” and of Oireachtas budgetary oversight, as Government will not come clean on what is likely to be available in the Budget.

"The economy faces a serious crisis in respect of housing, the need to upgrade infrastructure, and to improve vital services such as health.

"Today’s figures show that it is possible to address these critical issues in people’s lives in the forthcoming budget.

"It would be foolish to squander resources on unnecessary tax cuts at a time when vital needs must be competently addressed. Taoiseach Varadkar and Minister Donohue should not be tempted to play Santa for electoral popularity. People want housing, health and infrastructure properly provided. The Government should not be tempted to bypass these issues for short term electoral gains.

"In addition, the receipts from the partial sale of AIB continue to flatter the figures. The income tax figures are still behind schedule and the minister has yet to explain in detail why that should be so."