Thursday 20 September 2018

Why Government must stand up to powerful insider lobbyists

The first budgetary duty is to get value for taxpayers' money, and the powers that be should pay no more than they have to, writes Dan O'Brien

'The first budgetary duty is to get value for taxpayers’ money, and the powers that be should pay no more than they have to'. Photo: Collins Dublin.
'The first budgetary duty is to get value for taxpayers’ money, and the powers that be should pay no more than they have to'. Photo: Collins Dublin.
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

If the Government paid millions of euro more than it should have to a construction company for a piece of infrastructure, questions would rightly be asked about its use of taxpayers' money. If it paid one legal firm more for a job than the lower price offered by another firm, there would be good reason to ask why the higher price was paid.

Now consider a scenario in which a company signs a contract with the State to provide a service and then claims later that, because another firm is getting more on an earlier contract, it should receive the same higher amount. Again, there would be many valid questions asked if the Government agreed to change the contract retrospectively at a cost to the taxpayer.

Just such a scenario has loomed into view over the past week as teachers and their unions demand that more recent recruits have their pay scales retrospectively increased. This would have serious implications for the public finances and should not be acquiesced to.

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