Thursday 19 September 2019

Finance Minister calls on credit unions to lend more

Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform
Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform

David Raleigh and Niall O'Connor

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has called on the credit union movement to increase lending to consumers.

He said this would help grow the economy, and stressed that some credit unions have had large amounts of money put into them by members that could be lent out.

Speaking in Limerick yesterday, Mr Noonan said: "There's about 430 credit unions, there's now a lot of capacity to re-lend, because the capacity to start lending is based on the amount of deposits that they have and they should go and start lending.

"The ones that can afford to (should lend)."

Meanwhile, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin yesterday said that the Government would be in a position to make "more positive choices" in the area of expenditure in October's Budget.

Mr Howlin gave his first indication that he is willing to increase spending in areas such as health and education – but warned that such a scenario depended on growth and job levels.

He was responding to comments by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Mr Noonan, who both suggested at the weekend that tax cuts are on the way.

But Labour sources are adamant that the "employment- friendly" measures being prepared ahead of October's Budget must not be seen as being Fine Gael-led.

Asked whether the Budget would also include spending increases, Mr Howlin said there was room for manoeuvre that wasn't available to the Government during previous years.

"In that context, if we do have the growth levels that the ESRI and IBEC are projecting, if we still have the uptake in jobs that seems to be happening, that will obviously give greater potential to make more positive choices at the end of this year than we've been able to do for any of the three previous Budgets," he said.

Irish Independent

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