Budget 2015 should ‘bed down recovery’, says FF

Fianna Fáil have said they will not succumb to "auction" politics after launching budget proposals it says are designed to stabilise the economy, rather than reward recession-hit voters.

The party have proposed further tackling the country’s deficit, over giving people tax breaks.

It also claimed that giving in to Sinn Féin’s budget promises to drop charges and return benefits would “kill the economy”.

The proposal comes just days ahead of the Government’s own spending and taxation announcements for next year, which will be revealed on Wednesday. These will include income tax cuts.

Fianna Fáil’s proposals include reducing the deficit next year towards 2%, as opposed to 3% under the Coalition’s plans. Property and water taxes in the short term should be retained, it said.

However, €60m would be set aside to ease water charge payments for households. This would include discounts for adult children living with their parents, who currently are included in charges.

The party steered clear of tax-cut proposals yesterday, with finance spokesman Michael McGrath warning that its measures were not intended to buy votes.

There was a need to “bed down the recovery”, he said, and to focus on returning services to people that had been lost in the recession.

Other savings it proposed included €300m less going towards the IMF bailout payments and €290m from the public service.

Mr McGrath said all the Government’s talk of reducing the marginal or cumulative 52% rate of tax would not benefit five-out-of-six workers.

“We’re not trying to buy popularity. 2015 should be about consolidating the recovery,” explained the Cork South Central TD.

Fianna Fáil propose a €68m childcare support package, to help people return to work.

It says it would reduce teacher-pupil ratios in schools, support SMEs, increase mortgage relief payments, make energy firms reduce costs for all users and recruit more therapists in health, as well as invest in tackling hospital waiting lists.

Mr McGrath attacked Sinn Féin’s budget proposals this week, which included dropping property and water charges if in power. “They want to abolish €1.7bn in taxes... that would kill the economy,” he said.

Meanwhile, front-bench members insisted there was no threat to Micheál Martin’s leadership after Fianna Fáil’s slump in a poll this week.


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