Belfast Telegraph

Warning of more austerity measures

Further austerity measures could destroy the economy and kill off prospects for recovery, it has been warned.

Trade union umbrella group Congress said austerity plans had delivered nothing but higher unemployment and a bigger deficit.

At the launch of the body's pre-budget submission general secretary David Begg said the Government needed to put more focus on jobs and growth.

"We have tried austerity and it just hasn't worked - it has just made matters worse," Mr Begg said.

"There have been three deflationary budgets that have taken 14.5 billion euro out of the economy and the result is clear: unemployment has almost trebled, the deficit is actually bigger than when we started and the cost of borrowing is at record levels.

"How could that be interpreted as anything other than failure?"

Congress described reducing the budget deficit to 3% of gross domestic product by 2014 as artificial and arbitrary.

It said the deadline should be extended to 2017, claiming there was no impediment to delaying it beyond the 2014 target at either national or EU level.

In its pre-budget submission Congress called for the income levy to be extended to corporate profits until the 3% deficit target is reached.

The body also called for a temporary wealth tax on wealth above two million euro and and for the minimum tax for high earners to be increased to 35%.

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