Monday 22 January 2018

Minister Howlin: Government will pump €750m welfare, education and health

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin.
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

PUBLIC Expenditure Minister Howlin has revealed the Government will pump €750m into social welfare, education and health.

In his ‘Spring Statement’ speech, Mr Howlin outlined a number of key areas where increased expenditure will be need in the coming years as the economy recovers.

The minister said investment in schools, roads, public transport, social housing and broadband will increase growth and the Government’s ability to respond to social needs.

He said there will be a need for an extra 3,500 primary and secondary school teachers by 2021, while the number of third level students will increase by 20,000. He said the Government will plan to meet these demands.

He noted that Coalition built 150 schools and gave jobs to 1,700 new full-time teachers since it took office.

The minister pledged to continue to invest in education and upskill the workforce to ensure the country’s citizens are at the “forefront of new technology”.

Mr Howlin said the “fruits of economic growth” will be shared by all citizens and highlighted increases in child benefit payment and living alone allowance in the last budget.

He said reducing employment is the “best route to recovery” and the Government will continue to make getting people back to work its key objective.

An effective childcare policy is another issue the Coalition will address in the coming months.

Minister Howlin said the cost of State pension payments will rise to €200m a year by 2026 but he insisted there would be “no threat” to payments.

“The Government is committed to pension provision and to sustaining the value of those pensions,” he said.

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