Saturday 21 October 2017

'Economic growth of 3.75pc and 50,000 new jobs in 2018'

The economy will grow by 3.75pc next year with just under 50,000 new jobs being created. Stock photo: Bloomberg
The economy will grow by 3.75pc next year with just under 50,000 new jobs being created. Stock photo: Bloomberg

Cormac McQuinn and Anne-Marie Walsh

The economy will grow by 3.75pc next year with just under 50,000 new jobs being created, the Summer Economic Statement will say.

Despite the threat of Brexit, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will today present a largely positive outlook and commit to "balancing the books" in next year's budget.

There will be just €500m available for tax cuts and new spending in Budget 2018, with €180m to be set aside for public sector pay hikes.

A source said: "Things are tight but on target for next year. There may well be ways of freeing up some extra money before the Budget - and once we hit a balanced budget things will loosen up in future years."

It comes as Social Protection Regina Doherty has been warned of a pensions 'time-bomb' that sees the State's bill spiralling by €1bn every five years due to our aging population.

The warning came in a briefing prepared for the new minister by her officials.

Jerry Moriarty, Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF)
Jerry Moriarty, Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF)

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The sheer scale of the rising costs could jeopardise pledges by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to increase the State pension by around €5-a-week each year.

Chief executive Irish Association of Pension Funds Jerry Moriarty last night pointed to Census figures showing the number of over 65s has shot up by 20pc.

The pensions expert said there's a need to "take the politics out of it [Budget pension hikes]" and introduce a pre-determined basis for increases such as linking them to inflation.

Separately, the Alliance of Retired Public Servants will today warn the Government that 40,000 of them may be die before cuts to their pensions are reversed.

Irish Independent

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