The €6.9bn in additional expenditure outlined in today’s Summer Economic Statement must be underpinned by proper workforce planning for future needs, according to Social Democrats finance spokesperson Róisín Shortall.

“Problems highlighted in the Summer Economic Statement are mostly the result of consistent failures by Government to invest in critical infrastructure and lack of planning for the country’s future requirements, especially around workforce planning.

“This is evident in areas such as health, housing and social care, where money is being provided but there are insufficient numbers of trained staff to fill a range of critical roles.

“Given the availability of Census figures, there is no excuse for not planning for future workforce needs or demand for things like housing, infrastructure and public services.

“Instead of focusing on one-off measures, Budget 2025 must also address structural issues around income inequality, including a weekly cost of disability payment and an increase in core social welfare rates by €25 a week to keep pace with rising costs and allow those at the bottom to catch up.

“Today’s Summer Economic Statement also signals €1.4bn in tax cuts in the Budget. While the Social Democrats support tax band indexation for middle incomes, there must be a clawback for people at the top – otherwise the gap between the top and the bottom will grow.

“Refundable tax credits are another way to improve incomes for low earners and should be considered in the Budget.”

July 9, 2024

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