Long term planning must be a central function of government – and this has sadly been lacking.
The summer economic statement has again highlighted the government’s failure to sufficiently plan for the country’s future needs, according to Social Democrats Finance Spokesperson Róisín Shortall.
“The headline figures reflect a healthy fiscal position – but they mask inherent weaknesses in the government’s approach.
“A key concern – and one which is acknowledged by the government – are gaps in labour, housing and infrastructure which are causing severe constraints on the economy.
“Long term planning must be a central function of government – and this has sadly been lacking. Lack of long-term workforce planning in particular is inhibiting the country’s ability to cater for people’s needs, particularly when it comes to housing, health and social care.
“We are continually told that money is not a constraint to providing services. Instead, the government claims it is unable to meet its own targets because it can’t hire key staff. However, it is the job of government to spend time on workforce planning to ensure services can be delivered. This failure to strategically plan must change.
“Another huge concern, as the government plans another budgetary package, is its predilection for widening the gap, between rich and poor, in its tax packages. High paid people, like the Taoiseach and other members of cabinet, do not need tax breaks.
“It is regressive to stack the tax system so that those on higher incomes benefit disproportionately from tax cuts. This is particularly unconscionable in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis when low, and middle, income earners are making choices about feeding their families and heating their homes.
“The Social Democrats have always believed that investment in public services, not tax cuts, should take precedence as a means to putting money back in people’s pockets. We need to see investment in services like healthcare, housing, childcare and education so that upfront costs, for essential public services, are eliminated.”