Government spring economic statement ignores 'people left behind by recovery'
THE Government’s Spring Statement on the economy “is an exercise in self-congratulation,” Fianna Fail spokesman, Michael McGrath, told the Dail.
Mr McGrath said the Government had delivered an unequal economic recovery with many sectors of society and regions being left behind.
The Fianna Fail TD said 400,000 people – five times the full capacity of Croke Park – are waiting for a hospital appointment.
He said the waiting lists were getting worse with increases averaging up to one third.
“You’re not giving those people any light at the end of the tunnel,” the Fianna Fail TD told the Finance Minister Michael Noonan.
Mr McGrath said the damage was done by the emphasis on service cutbacks in the four previous Budgets. He said Mr Noonan’s first opportunity to give something back to citizens in the last Budget actually favoured those on higher incomes.
The Fianna Fail spokesman said the best way to spread fairness was to cut the USC.
“We need a fair recovery. We need a broadly-based recovery. There are towns and villages throughout this country which are dying on their feet,” Mr McGrath said.
The Fianna Fail welcomed the reduction in unemployment but warned that there was no room for complacency. He said 350,000 people were still out of work with 85,000 people on government employment schemes and ongoing problem on long-term unemployment.
Mr McGrath said there was also an urgent need to reform the labour market and give workers better terms and conditions. The small and medium-sized enterprises were also neglected.
He added that Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s statements on helping 300,000 people on standard variable mortgages were “weak.”