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Policy issues concerning Economy

In the latest edition of its publication ‘Quarterly Economic Observer’, NERI (the Nevin Economic Research Institute) focuses on the specific details of an alternative budgetary strategy in the Republic of Ireland for the year 2013. The crisis in unemployment continues as the level of real domestic demand stays constant or is in decline. There is evidence of rising income inequality and consistent poverty.

The latest figures published by the CSO paint a grim picture in terms of employment and growth in Ireland.  There has been an annual decrease in employment by 33,400 since Q2 2011 and a 1.3% increase in unemployment over the same period.

The Government has reduced its growth forecast for 2012 from 1.3% to 0.7% and for 2013 from 2.4% to 2.2%. The revised forecasts were outlined in the  Stability Programme Update- April 2012

Ireland's newest think tank - the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI) -  has proposed a new €15 billion stimulus and investment programme aimed at creating jobs, boosting demand and aiding economic recovery. The ambitious proposal was outlined at the formal launch of the Institute in Dublin on March 27, 2012. Crucially, the programme of investment over five years will not add one cent to the Government debt or be an additional burden on the taxpayer.

The Quarterly National Household Survey conducted by the CSO, published February 14, 2012 shows that 30% of households headed by a person who is unemployed had borrowed money from family or friends to pay for basic goods and services. In addition, half of such households had missed paying household bills and more than one quarter had missed loan repayments.

According to Eurostat figures published on February 6, 2012, Ireland had the fourth highest ratio of government debt to GDP in the EU at the end of the third quarter of 2011 at 104.9%. This represents an increase of 16.5% over the third quarter of 2010, the third highest increase in the EU.

Is the Irish Government’s economic outlook for the period to 2015 credible given the Central Bank’s most recent forecast on economic growth? Social Justice Ireland has serious doubts in this regard.

The EU Autumn Economic Forecast makes stark reading for Ireland and poses serious questions about Government’s reliance on exports as the basis of Ireland’s recovery.  It also calls into doubt the basis on which Budget 2012 is being developed.

As the 20 group of the world's wealthiest counttries prepare to meet later this week, Social Justice Ireland believes that the endless focus on economic growth while failing to address issues ranging from sustainabiility to fair distribution to changing the basis on which a deeply flawe