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Unbalanced tax system and lack of investment in infrastructure among greatest risks to Ireland – Social Justice Ireland submission on the Draft National Risk Assessment 2018

The Government recently published its draft National Risk Assessment 2018 – Overview of Strategic Risks and called for submissions from interested parties on whether there might be more that could be included; the prioritisation of the risks identified; and whether all risks merit inclusion.  The draft contains a broad spectrum of Geopolitical, Economic, Social, Environmental and Technological risks, however it overlooks some of the more pressing risks for Ireland in the year ahead, for example the need to increase Ireland’s tax take by broadening the tax base to ensure the tax system is not only equitable but providing enough revenue to provide for increasing demands for expenditure, particularly in capital expenditure for the provision of essential infrastructure and services; and the need to look behind the figures on employment growth to address the serious risks associated with high levels of youth unemployment, NEETs and long-term employment.

In terms of what might be prioritised for the current year, infrastructure development in the areas of housing and healthcare and increased investment in early years education and care and the funding of higher education are obvious choices, in addition to the lack of action to properly address climate change and prevent the imposition of administrative fines, the cost of which would greatly enhance investment in other areas mentioned.

Overall, our submission concentrated on the following risks:  

  • ·         Need to Broaden the Tax Base and Increase the Tax Take
  • ·         Precarious Employment and Long Term Unemployment
  • ·         Demographic Changes – Ageing Population
  • ·         Infrastructure Development
  • ·         Funding Higher Education
  • ·         Climate Change
  • ·         Early Years Education and Care
  • ·         Disruptive Technologies and Skills

For more information on the above issues, and more, as well as a vision for a fairer society, see our Socio-Economic Review – Social Justice Matters:  2018 guide to a fairer Irish society.

Our Budget Choices 2019 document also provides proposals for a balanced Budget that would take vital first steps towards addressing Ireland’s societal issues while being economically sound.