Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Budget cuts 'may cost 30,000 jobs'

Up to 30,000 jobs could be lost through Government cuts in the Budget, an economic think-tank has warned

Up to 30,000 jobs could be lost through Government cuts in the Budget, an economic think-tank has warned.

Researchers claim plans to take 3.5 billion euro from the economy in December by cutting key services and income protection for low earners could have dire consequences.

The Nevin Economic Research Institute (Neri) said the state could instead shore up one billion euro by increasing taxes on high earners and wealth groups.

Think-tank director Tom Healy said it was possible to adopt an alternative budgetary strategy that would still meet the terms and targets set by Ireland's debt masters, the Troika of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

"The choice between taxes and spending is ours to make," said Dr Healy, ahead of the publication of Neri's latest quarterly report.

"Most people have already taken enough in cuts to public services and wages along with increased charges. What we need instead is a strategy that invests in growth and begins to address the huge shortfall in taxes paid at the very top end of the income distribution."

In its latest report, Neri said the Government's austerity strategy was failing and that introducing a stimulus instead of making cuts could create more than 20,000 jobs.

It said existing austerity measures could risk 30,000 positions.

The think-tank, which was set up in March and is funded by trade unions, suggested maintaining 2012 spending levels, reversing capital spending cuts and introducing a wealth tax.

It recommended the Government scales down its adjustment plans from 3.5 billion euro to 2.7 billion euro - 2.3 billion of which would come from its proposals for higher taxes on the wealthy.

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