Date Released: 04 June 2014
Speaking today after the publication of May’s exchequer returns, SIPTU President, Jack O’ Connor, has called on the Government to make it clear that there will be no further requirement for cuts affecting working families in Budget 2015. The figures show that the exchequer returns are €1.2 billion ahead of target for the first five months of this year.
Jack O’Connor said:
“Based on these returns it has become increasingly clear that that we can meet the general government deficit target of just below 3% by end 2015 without inflicting more pain on working families and those who depend on public services. If the current trend in exchequer revenues continues, then it should be possible to bridge the gap between the deficit target and the necessary budget adjustment by imposing a number of specific measures on higher income earners, capital and wealth.
“Ireland is very firmly on track to record a small surplus in revenue over expenditure, before debt servicing is taken into account (i.e. a primary surplus), in 2015. It is simply no longer tolerable that working families should have to bear any more of the adjustment. However, measures do still need to be taken in order to service and ultimately reduce our national debt.
“Already we have seen the ESRI forecast that only €500m of an adjustment will be necessary should its growth projections materialise. This sum is already factored in for water charges. While SIPTU remains opposed to the introduction of water charges as currently designed, we certainly cannot contemplate additional austerity on top of them.
“Instead, SIPTU is calling for the Government to take a leaf out of the European Commission’s book by implementing proposals for a tax on derelict and development lands and other measures. Our policy makers have been prepared to follow the European Commission’s advice with regard to severe austerity measures affecting working people. They should now be equally prepared to follow it when they affect capital and wealth. What is good for the goose must be good for the gander!”