Sunday 28 May 2017

Direction needed for any recovery

THE opposition called it evidence of a two-speed economy, but in some way it is even more complex than that. They were responding to yesterday's Exchequer returns which showed that government borrowing was €35 million less than had been expected at the time of the 2010 Budget, more than 12 months ago.

Clearly, that is welcome news. But the actual borrowing requirement of almost €19bn is a frightening figure. At almost 12pc of economic output (GDP), it is quite unsustainable for a small, open economy.

It is also the case that, despite the controversial pay and spending cuts last year, and the unpopular tax rises, government borrowing fell by just €1bn. That shows how very difficult it is to correct the public finances unless the economy is growing healthily.

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