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Spring Statement is unfair, contradictory and disappointing
The Government’s Spring Statement is unfair, contradictory and disappointing. It lacks a clear guiding vision of where Ireland should be by 2020. It also lacks clear policy commitments that would move Ireland towards being a just society.
Social Justice Ireland's Review of the Government's Spring Economic Statement 2015 states that “the decision to split available resources on a 50:50 basis, between tax cuts and investment in services, is profoundly unfair. As a ratio of 2:1 was applied in imposing austerity, surely the very minimum that would be expected would be that this ratio should also be used when resources become available, i.e. to apply one-third of the additional resources to tax reduction and two-thirds to expenditure increases.”
Social Justice Ireland also states that some of the Spring Statement’s proposals “appear to be contradictory. For example: promising quality services while overall tax and expenditure are to fall to record levels suggests that Government policy is contradicting itself.”
Some of the Spring Statement’s targets for 2020 are disappointing. For example: accepting that the number of people unemployed will still be 160,000 in 2020 suggests a real lack of commitment to taking the necessary action in this area.
Social Justice Ireland welcomes some of the proposals contained in the Spring Statement for example:
- The proposal to have a National Economic Dialogue in July and it looks forward to playing a full part in that process.
- The proposal to establish an Independent Budget Costings Office. However, it is disappointing that Government believes that consultation will be so lengthy that the proposed Office “will only be fully in place after the next election”.
However, Social Justice Ireland notes that many major policy areas are missing from the Spring Statement including; for example, there are no proposals for increasing public investment, addressing the social housing crisis, tackling the mortgage crisis, reducing poverty, expanding primary care etc.
While some of its proposals are welcome, the basic thrust of the Government's Spring Statement leaves a great deal to be desired.