Call for spring budget to ease financial strain

A spring budget should be brought in to give people earlier benefits from the improving economy, the chairman of the Dáil’s finance committee said.

Call for spring budget to ease financial strain

Labour’s Ciarán Lynch said that, as the country had experienced emergency mid-year budgets to impose austerity measures, it was now right that a “goodwill” budget be held in April or May next year to ensure people did not have to wait until October 2015 to have the financial strain eased.

“The financial and economic indicators show clear growth, but for people on fixed incomes for a number of years, household income has remained stagnant during that period,” said Mr Lynch.

“I suggest we examine the budgetary process so that there is potential for a mini-budget mid-way through next year.

“One particular area that should be examined is the reinstatement of the Christmas bonus package and that consideration should be given to that on a phased basis.”

The call came as junior minister at the Department of Social Protection Kevin Humphreys insisted that those on lower incomes would not be worse off after the budget, even when water tax bills arrive in January.

Economic think-tank Tasc insisted that Ireland was a low-tax country with only three quarters of the average European tax take. The body warned the Government not to prioritise tax cuts.

“We now have the opportunity to fund essential services, deliver long-term economic growth and create good quality jobs,” said Tasc policy analyst Cormac Staunton. “This is the best way to create a more equal society,”

Professor John McHale, head of the Fiscal Advisory Council, said resignation was an option if the Coalition repeatedly ignored the body’s advice, but “not something that I’m contemplating at the moment”.

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