Fianna Fáil has today published its budget proposals for 2012. Some of the key points of Fianna Fáil’s proposals include:
· 224,000 to be exempt from universal social charge while increasing rate for those earning €115,000
· Greater pension reductions for retired public servants, politicians
· No VAT increase
· €250m more for capital expenditure in 2012 for labour intensive projects
· Scrap private pension levy in favour of €5.6 billion investment stimulus
· Accelerated implementation of Croke Park savings
· Establishment of an Economic Advisory Council
· Double the budget for County and City Enterprise Boards
· Complete the review of bankers’ pay in guaranteed banks
· 20,000 extra local employment scheme places
Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath said: “Fianna Fáil supports the need for an adjustment of €3.8 billion in the public finances in 2012. We have published today our proposals for achieving the deficit reduction. In addition, our document is underpinned by practical measures to support enterprise and improve confidence in the domestic economy.
“We are proposing the establishment of an Economic Advisory Council to advise Government on enterprise and economic policy. We are doubling the budget for enterprise boards and we are allowing an appeals mechanism for businesses burdened by local authority rates.
“In light of developments in the eurozone and global economy, we are concerned that the Government’s growth target of 1.6% may not be achieved. This will clearly have implications for the achievement of the deficit reduction target of 8.6% in 2012 and corrective measures may need to be taken during 2012.
“Fianna Fáil proposals for Budget 2012 do not include the 2% VAT increase planned by the Government. We believe retail sales and consumer confidence are too fragile and the Government risks a severe contraction in demand.
“In recognition of the ongoing burden on the public from the fiscal adjustments needed, we are proposing that the Public Sector Pension Reduction for retired senior civil servants, public servants and politicians be increased and will impact on pensions greater than €75,000.
“Fianna Fáil has focused our proposals on the need to stimulate growth in the economy to create jobs. We are proposing an investment stimulus of at least €5.6 billion over four years. This involves phasing out the private sector pension levy and replacing it with a mandatory investment by private pension funds of 4% over four years (average 1% per annum) in the Strategic Investment Fund. This amounts to an average yearly investment of €700m and would be matched by an annual investment from the NPRF.
Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Sean Fleming stated, “The Croke Park agreement is delivering substantial savings by way of reduced public sector numbers and non-pay savings. We believe additional savings can be achieved through the rigorous implementation of this agreement. On capital expenditure, we are providing an extra €250m in 2012 relative to the Government’s figure, and we believe this spend should focus on labour intensive projects around the country. Despite the expenditure savings required, we believe the extra investment in the enterprise sector and the additional local employment scheme places will deliver jobs.”