Wednesday 20 November 2019

The Brexit bonus of cheaper shopping

'For now, we'll take the positive sides of a Brexit bonus of cheaper baskets of shopping here.' Photo: PA
'For now, we'll take the positive sides of a Brexit bonus of cheaper baskets of shopping here.' Photo: PA


Clearly it's too early to draw any conclusions.

However, the impact of Brexit has now drawn some welcome benefit for consumers.

The weakness of sterling since Britain voted to leave the European Union has resulted in it being cheaper to import goods into this country.

And now, grocery prices are dropping.

Not all bad.

So far, so good.

And Finance Minister Michael Noonan has indicated Brexit has failed to slow the economy, with the potential for a softer budget now on the cards.

The minister will tell his Cabinet colleagues today that economic growth this year is running well ahead of the forecast when this year's budget was set back in October.

"There will probably be some additional funds available from the extra growth," he said.

"The adjustment made [to the forecasts] for Brexit didn't come through."

The official Department of Finance forecasts for economic growth have been lifted to 4.3pc this year - up from the previously expected 3.5pc.

Growth in 2018 is now tipped to be 3.7pc.

The big change is Brexit, which forecasters thought would have hit the Irish economy harder by now.

But it hasn't happened.

The downside has been felt on the British side so far.

Of course, the flip side is the damage that will be done to our exporters as a result of the weak sterling, which pushes up Irish prices in the British market.

For now, we'll take the positive sides of a Brexit bonus of cheaper baskets of shopping here. But we'll also brace ourselves for more turmoil to come.

Home Care report helps to move on this debate

Last week's Census figures set out the stark demographic challenges facing the country in the coming years.

The population isn't just growing, it is also growing older.

Census 2016 showed the number of people aged over 65 rose by nearly 20pc in the previous five years, far in excess of the overall population growth.

More people are living longer, and this is especially notable in the case of men. And there were 25pc more men aged over 85 in 2016 compared with 2011.

The ageing population puts enormous pressures on the pensions, social welfare and health services.

Care of the elderly will become an increasingly important issue, requiring increasing levels of resources from the State. Families will be relied upon heavily to provide care for their elderly relatives.

Ideally, an elderly person shouldn't have to leave their home when they receive a setback on the health front and nursing home care ought to only be a fall-back when the individual needs 24-hour care due to failing health or problems with mobility.

This is going to mean demand for Home Help and Home Care packages will be on the rise.

The debate on caring for elderly people in their homes is really only beginning, so the report by the Health Research Board looking at the experience in other countries is a welcome development.

Irish Independent

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