Belfast Telegraph

Call for debt forgiveness scheme

Presidential hopeful Sean Gallagher has backed calls for a debt forgiveness scheme for struggling homeowners.

The businessman said the issue was repeatedly raised by voters as he travelled across the country and said he hoped some form of relief can be considered.

Economist Morgan Kelly has also suggested a write-off scheme, estimating it would cost up to 6 billion euro.

Mr Gallagher said: "I sincerely hope that the Government can find a way in order to create debt forgiveness for many people, because many individuals and families are heavily burdened, and I would very much support that as an approach to help ease their suffering and their current pain and concerns."

Despite the call from Mr Kelly, junior finance minister Brian Hayes poured cold water on the idea, claiming there were problems with the proposal.

Meanwhile Mr Gallagher has proposed saving the taxpayer up to 10 million euro by calling for all candidates to appear on one single campaign leaflet per voter, instead of distributing one each.

He claimed the cost of sending leaflets to each voter for up to seven candidates would be 11.63 million euro, but one would cost 1.66 million euro.

"I believe that spending vast amounts of money at a time when families and communities are really struggling is obscene," he said.

"This is just one measure, but I am hopeful that it will help to make a positive difference."

The Dragons' Den star said he has written to Environment Minister Phil Hogan setting out his proposal and called for other candidates to consider it.

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