Fianna Fáil has launched its submission for Budget 2014. The proposals are designed to underpin the progress towards meeting our Budget targets in 2014 while at the same time protecting the social fabric of society.
The key points of the proposals are:
· An adjustment of €2.4bn to deliver a budget deficit no greater than 5.0% in 2014
· The split of the adjustment for 2014 should be approximately 50 / 50 between new tax and expenditure measures
· The burden of adjustment should be levied in a progressive manner, unlike the current government’s two budgets to date
· Education, Disability and Mental Health services should be protected and not be subject to any further cuts
· A suite of innovative policies to encourage and promote private enterprise
Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath commented, “It is imperative that families are given a break from the never ending cycle of tax rises and cuts to services. The key issue for us is that the Government must learn from the mistakes of the last two budgets which hit harder on low income earners. This budget must be fair and progressive.
“We believe the adjustment for 2014 can be made without the revenue from the Local Property Tax and we do include it in our projections. Our view that widening the tax base in an innovative manner, such as a lid levy on off-licence alcohol sales and other tax measures, can raise the revenue necessary to meet next year’s target,” he said.
Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Seán Fleming noted, “There are still considerable inefficiencies in public spending as highlighted by the recent Comptroller and Auditor General Report. This cannot be tolerated, and departments must set much more ambitious targets for eliminating waste and driving savings by focusing on procurement and shared services.
“The Government’s approach to the capital budget is to see it as a PR opportunity rather than a source of vital investment in the economy. The capital budget must be protected and spent on time, something the government are currently failing to do. In addition the investment of National Pension Reserve Fund assets in infrastructure projects should be prioritised.”
Commenting on the employment aspects of the proposals, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Dara Calleary said, “We need to ensure that domestic entrepreneurs are incentivised with the same priority given to foreign direct investment.
“We are bringing forward measures which will underpin this commitment, including a lower rate of capital gains tax for entrepreneurs, tax relief for individuals making loan capital investments to SMEs and an expansion of the JobAssist scheme.
“We will be strongly opposing a mandatory increase in PRSI for the self-employed and we recently launched legislation for a voluntary opt-in scheme which would extend to the self-employed those benefits which are currently means tested.”