Ireland is under-investing in key areas such as education, social housing and rural broadband. In order to deliver sustainable and inclusive growth public investment must be given priority in Budget 2018 and beyond. Any delay in investment will simply exacerbate the situation. Ireland has control of budgetary decisions regarding its taxation and expenditure. Most people want to see reductions in healthcare waiting lists, increases in social housing provision and reliable high-speed broadband across rural Ireland. To achieve this means there should be no net tax-cuts in Budget 2018.
- Long-term policy goals that benefit all must take precedence over short-term gains for the few. To this end Budget 2018 should include details of a comprehensive multi-annual investment plan to tackle Ireland’s infrastructure deficits, prioritising social housing and broadband in the forthcoming budget.
- Increased investment in education, social housing and broadband in Budget 2018 will yield significant returns in terms of both employment and productivity, and will also address two of the largest infrastructural deficits in Ireland today.
- Brexit should not paralyse our response to national challenges. The best way to ensure those sectors and regions that will be most affected by Brexit are best prepared and supported is to invest in areas in which Ireland is deficient such as social housing, broadband, public transport, skills development and childcare.
- While Brexit understandably is the focus of much attention at present it should not distract from the work that is needed to deliver investment in our social and economic infrastructure that is essential to deliver outcomes that benefit all sectors of society. Ensuring communities have access to the infrastructure and services they need is vital to ensuring that they can adapt to future challenges.
- In order to address our social and physical infrastructure deficits a long-term framework is required to guide prioritisation of resources. This framework should be designed to deliver a vibrant economy, decent infrastructure and services, a just and broad taxation system, good governance and sustainability.
- If Ireland is to have strong long-term macroeconomic stability and a vibrant economy then a substantial increase in the level of public investment is required. Most Western European societies provide a far more comprehensive programme of public services and social infrastructure. If we wish to emulate and compete with these countries, we must secure a level of revenue similar to these countries.