Friday 23 March 2018

High price of buying elections

Michael Noonan
Michael Noonan

The State's tax haul is ahead of target under all headings - income tax, Vat and corporation tax, possibly by as much as €1bn by year's end. Expenditure for the year to date is €306m less than budgeted and €165m less than the corresponding figure for 2014.

We are going to meet the target of reducing our deficit to 3pc of GDP by the end of the year. In fact, we will probably beat it. And yet the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, the body that advises the Government, is concerned they are going to cut themselves - and us - some slack in the next Budget.

Since 2008 we have endured hardship through Troika-imposed and Government-administered austerity. Now, finally, we had begun to feel that perhaps the pressure could be eased up a little. What was easily forgotten was that 3pc was just a stage on the austere journey and that we must now strive to reach zero. This is prescribed for us by the EU, which must still approve our Budgets, and it is also laid down in legislation, which our own Government enacted, to keep itself, and presumably its successors, on the straight and narrow.

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