Deputy Jackie Cahill: welcomed the Budget
The Budget outlined the largest ever spend in the history of the State
Deputy Jackie Cahill has welcomed Budget 2021, delivered by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath TD. Deputy Cahill has commented on the fact that this is the most progressive, investment led budget in the history of the State. Investment at unprecedented levels in the Irish economy is intended to ensure the continued stimulation of the economy as the government continues to work to protect people, jobs and business from the negative impact of Covid and Brexit.
“I very much welcome today’s budget, delivered by Minsters Michael McGrath and Paschal Donohoe, the first budget agreed by the three coalition parties in government. I do not believe it is an overstatement to say that this is the most progressive, stimulation focused budget in the history of our State. This government, since taking office, has faced challenges like no government before it. Brexit alone would have been a major challenge to our economy at the end of this year, but the Covid pandemic has dwarfed even the significance of that in the last number of months. Both of these combined means that we must ensure that we have a stable, unified government approach to stimulating our economy, saving businesses and protecting jobs, all the while ensuring that we protect health. That is what this budget is intended to do”, Cahill said.
The Budget pledges to provide the largest social housing project ever in Ireland
“Budget 2021 sees the biggest investment ever in housing with a commitment of €3.3 billion in the area. This budget commits to 12,750 new social houses coming on stream. It commits to 15,800 tenancies being supported through HAP and RAS. It commits €110 million to a new Affordable Purchase Scheme and €218 million to ensure that local authorities can provide emergency accommodation for those who find themselves homeless. Fianna Fáil promised in General Election 2020 to deliver on housing, we undertook to do so upon entering government, and that is what this unprecedented level of investment intends to do.”
“In heath, the budget is increased by an unprecedented €4 billion. It delivers a permanent increase in the capacity of our health service right across the system. It provides for major investments in hospital capacity, in beds and doctors, nurses and other health care staff. This budget has delivered 1,146 acute beds, 1,250 community beds and 5 million additional homecare hours. We have never before seen such a marked increase in our health system to save lives, tackle increased demand and provide capacity where it is particularly needed”, Cahill stated.
“This budget is investing in frontline workers by providing funding to allow for an addition 620 trainee Gardaí and 500 Garda staff. In agriculture, I lobbied for a continuation of the farm consolidation stamp duty relief and consanguinity relief.”
“A rise of pension age to 67 that was due to take place in January has been scrapped. This is extremely important to many people in my constituency and I am delighted to welcome this development today.”
The budget will provide for 300 more primary school teachers
“This budget is investing in our future generations through increased commitment to education at all levels. 300 additional teaching posts are being created to reduce our class sizes. 990 additional SNAs and 403 additional teaching posts will be provided for children with special education needs. In higher education, there will be an additional 5,000 places in colleges and universities to accommodation increased demand for places. SUSI grants are also increased for postgraduate students and €50 million will be provided in student supports. Fianna Fáil has a proud history of investing in education in our country and this budget is further proof of that.”
“Businesses will benefit from the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme that will provide up to €5,000 per week for those severely impacted by closures. The hospitality VAT reduction has been restored at 9%. The self-employed are allowed defer tax payments for one year without interest. Budget 2021 aims to stimulate businesses and keep viable operations afloat during these extremely challenging times. Businesses such as pubs, restaurants, dance schools, retail and hotels have been hit exceptionally hard by a move to Level 3, and these additional measures are there to assist struggling business owners and employers and to save jobs.”
“Budget 2021 amounts to approximately €17.75 billion. We have never seen this level of investment in our State by the Irish government before. When Fianna Fáil entered government, it was made clear by my party colleagues and I that there would be no austerity to get us out of this economic situation. This is a budget very much based on stimulus, not austerity. Fianna Fáil committed to this when we entered government in June, and today we have delivered just that. If we look to the gains in the areas of health, housing and education to name but three, where Fianna Fáil hold ministries, it is clear that the ordinary person, small business owner, frontline worker, parents, the self-employed, students, and small and medium employers are the priority for our party,” Cahill concluded.