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Social Justice Ireland meets with Oireachtas Committee on Finance
Social Justice Ireland believes a fairer future is possible and deliverable. It is crucial however that Government’s decisions and the terms of the bailout agreement with the IMF/ECB/EC should be focused on delivering such an outcome. These were key fundamentals for Budget 2012 presented to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform by Social Justice Ireland on November 2, 2011.
The Social Justice Ireland delegation went on to make the following points in the course of a wide-ranging presentation and discussion.
The adjustments required and the decisions taken should all be in the context of reaching a future that is fair, just and sustainable. As well as this it is essential that the pathway towards such a future must itself be just and fair. It is essential therefore that the decisions taken in the context of Budget 2012 take some key steps towards such a future and do so in a fair and just manner.
- Economic growth is not reaching the forecast targets.
- Jobs are not being created on the scale required.
- Unemployment is not falling at the rate envisaged.
- Finance is not available on the scale required for small and medium enterprises.
- Essential services are being reduced to such an extent that the health and well-being of citizens is being put at risk.
- Those who are poor and/or vulnerable are bearing an inordinate share of the pain of the adjustment process.
- The Community and Voluntary sector, often the place of last resort for many vulnerable people has seen a huge demand for its services. At the same time its funding has been reduced dramatically.
- The essential infrastructure that supports the delivery of public services is being eroded with very serious long-term implications.
- Growth won’t reach the level projected for 2012 which underpins the calculations in the Bailout Agreement.
- Domestic demand continues to fall.
- The infrastructure that supports the delivery of public services is being eroded.
- Some of the debt should be written down.
- Unsecured bond-holders should not be paid
- A new state-backed bank should be established to provide finance to SMEs
- fail to protect poor or vulnerable people;
- continue the process of dispossessing poor people so that bankers and bond holders may be repaid in full, a process we consider to be profoundly immoral and unjust;
- provide no investment to help generate economic recovery.
- The borrowing reduction target is achieved by tax increases and expenditure reductions on a ratio of 2:1 the opposite to the Memorandum’s approach.
- There are no reductions in welfare rates and we leave Child Benefit unchanged.
- The situation of the working poor is improved by making tax credits refundable.
- A new initiative of scale would see up to 100,000 long-term unemployed people take up real part-time jobs.
- The support infrastructure for social services would be protected.