Tough choices: €1bn to spend in budget

IT is, of course, welcome news that the Government expects to have around €1bn to support a mix of increased spending and tax cuts in October’s budget. The figure is double the €500m anticipated and reflects a strengthening economy.

Leaving aside the possibility that should Britain vote to quit the EU tomorrow our growth figures might slow, the number raises serious questions. Is the conventional argument that if people have more money to spend they will pay more taxes enough to counter the argument that we need to spend far, far more on supporting public services?

The reality is that there is hardly a public service — in health, in education, or in policing — that does not need a significant injection of resources if it is to deliver the kind of service we all want and aspire to.

Whatever the answer is it is of little consolation to someone dependent on the public purse for a hospital appointment or for a home that extra revenue is used to support tax cuts.

As ever the battle rages between personal and social ambitions and the vulnerable are the meat in the sandwich.


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