Unite warns that stagnating investment will not plug austerity holes

unite-white-out-of-redCapital plan represents almost no spending increase as proportion of GDP

Focus on short-term tax cuts instead of long-term investment will put future prosperity at risk

September 29th: Trade union Unite today slammed the Government’s proposed investment plan, pointing out that the plan represents almost no increase in investment spending as a proportion of GDP, and negligible growth in real terms once inflation in factored in. The union warned that the stagnating investment levels announced today will fail to compensate for the infrastructural deficits left by six years of austerity.

Commenting, Unite’s Ireland Secretary Jimmy Kelly said:

“As we slowly emerge from recession, we are facing a housing crisis as well as deficits in a range of other areas, from schools to broadband. Yet the plan announced today represents almost no increase in investment spending as a proportion of GDP.   In fact, our average annual spend up to 2021 will be only around 60 per cent of the average annual spend since the 1970s.

“Not only will stagnating investment fail to plug the holes left by austerity – it will leave us with ongoing deficits which will cost more to remedy in the future”, Jimmy Kelly said.

Unite researcher Michael Taft added:

“When viewed as a proportion of our national income, the Government is freezing public investment over the next six years – despite the fact that our public investment levels are already one of the lowest in the entire EU.

“The best way to maintain sustainable growth and increase competitiveness is to create new assets that will generate future income, raise productivity, and reduce costs: social housing, rolling out advanced-speed broadband throughout the country, water and waste, public transport, green energy, technological supports to SMEs and many other growth programmes.

“Unfortunately, it is clear that the Government’s priority is to provide tax cuts to higher income groups instead of a sustained and substantial investment in the needs of the productive economy. This will put our long-term prosperity at risk”, Michael Taft concluded.

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