Monday, February 18 12:23:04
SIPTU has become the latest to call on the Government to deploy in Budget 2014 the full E1 billion savings secured in the recent promissory note deal and invest in a stimulus plan aimed at job creation and economic growth.
Addressing a meeting of the union's Wexford District Council on Monday evening (18th February), SIPTU General President, Jack O'Connor, said: "The Government must grasp the opportunity presented by its recent promissory note deal to abandon the misery of one-sided austerity and launch a stimulus plan for jobs and growth."
"The public should be assured that the E500 million cut in Social Welfare spend pencilled in for 2014 will not proceed and that there will also be no reduction in Health Service spending. Apart from providing some sense of financial security for lower and middle income families this would also shore up consumer spending."
O'Connor added that the E1 billion plus savings generated by the promissory note deal would still leave enough to launch a distress fund to assist people in danger of losing their family home because they are unable to service mortgages.
"Parallel with this the State's improved credit rating, which has resulted from securing the promissory note deal, should be used to secure funds to treble the Government's existing infrastructure stimulus plan of E2.25 billion that was announced last July."
"This, off balance sheet initiative, could be funded through the National Pension Reserve Fund monies, incentivised private pension funds, the recycled profits of state companies, NAMA and the European Investment Bank. Each E1 billion spent on infrastructure would yield 10,000 jobs and every 20,000 reduction in the Live Register would save the Exchequer E1 billion on social transfers. "Deployment of the full promissory note savings in Budget 2014 accompanied by such a major stimulus initiative would optimise the prospects of growth, allowing us to leverage off the delayed European recovery in 2015 and enabling the State to meet its 3pc deficit target by the end of that year without subjecting our people to further misery. Cutting unemployment not jobs, pay and welfare is the key to the recovery over the next two years," said O'Connor.