13/10/2016

Labour Questions Govt Over 'Magical Appearance Of An Extra €200m'

Labour have raised concerns about "the magical appearance of an extra €200 million" in the government's Budget 2017 package.

The party's Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Sean Sherlock, has accused the government of getting its budget figures wrong.

Deputy Sherlock said: "Since last Friday I have been raising concerns about the magical appearance of an extra €200 million for the overall Budget package.

"It is astounding to suddenly hear the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin enquiring today as to where the extra fiscal space came from. For the last few weeks they have led us all to believe they negotiated the Budget with Fine Gael.

"We have pointed out several times that the Government deliberately misled Opposition parties until the last minute as to the amount of extra money available in Budget 2017."

Deputy Sherlock said that a day on from the Budget announcements, the government has still not clarified where the extra €200 million was found.

"That is not acceptable," Mr Sherlock said.

"Today we had the unprecedented situation at Leader's Questions and in media interviews where the Government does not know when it will introduce the increase to weekly social welfare payments - a key plank of the deal hashed out with Fianna Fáil.

Fianna Fáil continue to wrongly claim that they influenced a 2:1 split when both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil proposed such a split in the General Election.

"In last year's Budget, Labour ensured a 3:1 split between increases in expenditure to tax reductions through supplementary estimates and Budget day measures. Fianna Fáil should also stop deliberately misleading people on this fact."

(MH/CD)

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