Budget 2015

Article by Brian Hayes MEP which appeared in the Irish Daily Star on Wednesday 15th September 2014

After 7 years of austerity – the worst is over. With yesterday’s budget, the country has turned a corner and is back on its feet. It has been a long hard road but we’re now in a better place. With cool heads and sensible policies Ireland’s future will be in good shape. Think about the prospect that by 2018 we can have full employment – that’s now a real possibility. Who would have thought that 7 years ago?

Irish people have made huge sacrifices and have gone through painful times to get the country to this point. Those sacrifices are starting to bear fruit. But it will take time for people to feel it in their pockets. Yesterday was the starting point in the pay-back to the public. But it is just a starting point.

That’s why we must stick to the task at hand to get a full recovery on track. We can’t slip back to the old ways of running the country and we can’t spend money we don’t have.

Jobs are being created and people are going back to work. Taxing the hell out of people when unemployment is so high is pure madness. The changes to the hated USC, increasing the bands and cutting tax rates helps the hard pressed PAYE worker.

It has to pay to work. The tax changes are small but they are going in the right direction. It’s the first change in personal tax reductions in 8 budgets. Putting money into people’s pockets is the best stimulus of all.

On water the government have attempted to help those cash-strapped families and individuals who genuinely are unable to pay. Parking the issue with the household package seems to make sense. Whether it will satisfy the public – we will have to wait to see?

Good news on social housing with extra money being provided along with new money from the European Investment Bank. Housing is a massive dilemma in Dublin where supply has all but come to a complete stop in recent years. It’s time to get building and we need to get it done quickly.

Something that wasn’t flagged was the increase in child benefit by €5. The partial reinstatement of the Christmas bonus will be especially welcomed by people living on social welfare.

The economic recovery is still fragile. The main aim of this Budget will be to secure the economic recovery. The Budget must continue to see better management of the public finances, along with a strong focus on job creation.

We are getting out of this crisis. That’s the truth of the matter. We have a long way to go but let’s at least acknowledge the progress that has been made.

Had we followed those who said we should default on the debt, where would we be now? Had we followed Gerry Adams advice about not drawing down the Troika money, how many years of austerity would that have caused?

In looking forward it’s important we remember those who told bare faced lies. Those who pretended that there was an easy way out of this. Those who tried to prosper on the backs of the people.

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