Friday 23 February 2018

Spring Statement: Key points

Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin have today delivered their much-anticipated 'Spring Statement'.

Here are the main points:

Michael Noonan's speech

- Ireland's 12.5pc corporation tax is a "red line" and will not be changed

- Minister says he is confident the entire tranche of taxpayers' money invested in three of the country's main banks, AIB, Bank of Ireland and PTSB, will be "fully recovered".

- Pressure placed on six main financial institutions to reduce interest rates

- Because of increasing confidence here at home, young Irish people working abroad will be able to come home in the knowledge they will find well-paid jobs in Ireland.

Read more: Government has begun 'buying' a return to power - Sinn Fein

- Country must never again be allowed to become so reliant on transaction property taxes, Noonan says.

- The European Commission has accepted his argument to allow greater flexibility to how Ireland can spend its money.

- The economy will grow by 4pc this year and by 3.75pc every year until 2020.

- The Government will introduce an "expansionary budget" this year and every year until 2020 "if this is deemed prudent".

- Mr Noonan said we must never return to the boom and bust policies which he said caused so much damage to the economy and the country.

- There will be €1.5bn - split evenly between taxes and spending - available in October's Budget

- Employment is expected to go beyond two million next year with all jobs lost during the recession to be replaced by 2018.

- Measures to address mortgage crisis due in the coming weeks

Brendan Howlin's speech

- Secured permission from Cabinet to open talks with public sector unions on pay

- Government will pump €750m into social welfare, education and health.

Read more: Finance Minister confident all taxpayers' money invested in three main banks will be recovered

- Some 920 mainstream teachers, 480 resource teachers and 365 special needs assistants.

- 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.

- 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.

- 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

- A new capital plan will be published in June which will outline spending on infrastructure until 2020

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