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2014 Budget Analysis- Budget numbers do not add up.

Budget 2014 provides no guiding vision, no real sense of direction for Ireland’s future, and no sustainable solutions to the major challenges Ireland faces. As well as this the budget numbers do not add up.

Budget 2014 continues this government’s austerity approach that has been shown to have no basis in theory, does not work in practice and is profoundly unethical in that it targets those who are vulnerable rather than those who are better able to meet the challenges of the present difficult situation. 

It also continues the unfair distribution of the adjustment with two-thirds being achieved through expenditure cuts while only one third comes from tax increases.

It is not acceptable that Government has persisted with this approach despite recent studies from the IMF and others showing that such an approach increases poverty and inequality. Reversing the tax/cuts ratio would have positive impacts on both these measures.

Budget 2014 also failed to meet the terms of the ‘Troika’ agreement.    That agreement specified that Government’s adjustments in Budget 2014 were to be done “while protecting core services and the vulnerable”.  This budget has failed to honour this condition. 

What future for Ireland?

In his budget speech Minister Michael Noonan said “It is time now, as a nation, to begin to look forward”. 

In reality it is long past time to do this.

It’s unfortunate that Government did not take this advice from the Minister when it was shaping Budget 2014.

Alternative was available

Government has claimed there is no alternative to austerity, no alternative to the choices that they have made. This is a failure of imagination. There is an alternative, a more just and egalitarian alternative that confronts the challenges Ireland faces today.

That alternative was spelled out in detail by Social Justice Ireland in our Policy Briefings on ‘Budget Choices’ and ‘Investment Policy’ published in June and September 2013 respectively.

Social Justice Ireland's views on Ireland’s future, its guiding vision and a viable framework to move towards that vision are set out on page 24.  We recommend them to all policy-makers, especially those who are members of our parliament at this critically important moment.

Document can be downloaded here.