April 20, 2020
Next government must forego fiscal conservatism and austerity – Martin Browne TD

The next government that takes office needs to implement a recovery package for the economy that is not constrained by stringent fiscal restrictions or austerity, according to Sinn Féin TD Martin Browne 

Speaking on the question of an economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis, Deputy Browne said the next government needs to prioritise an economic programme that is radical and far-reaching:

Deputy Browne said;

“We need to ensure that our next government puts a fiscal and spending programme in place that is ambitious and bold to provide the stimulus that is needed.

“The biggest liability we face right now is not ‘can we afford it?’

“Rather, the biggest risk is that we won’t be ambitious enough and that we will be too restrained in our response.

“There is much room and scope to embark on a large spending and stimulus programme.

“Fiscal rules on an EU level have been suspended, allowing for states to deal with this economic crisis accordingly.

“If the State does not intervene in a strong and robust manner, my fear is that the economy will slip not just into a recession but into a depression.

“However, the draft document for government by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil is not encouraging and is informed by too much of the old thinking:

“On fiscal matters, the document states:

“‘Exercise sound management of the public finances, by reducing our deficit as the economy grows; and comply with EU Fiscal Rules and Stability Pact’

“This is far too conservative and restrained, and will hinder our recovery.

“It is not where our priority should be.

“There is a widespread belief that a much more expansive response is needed. Even from economists such as the former president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi.

“This is not the time for worrying about the deficit.

“Fiscal restraint today will be the cause of, not the solution to high debt tomorrow.”

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