Dr Rory Hearne
Dr Rory Hearne, a lecturer in political and economic geography at National University of Ireland, Maynooth, has looked at Budget 2016.
And his verdict is in…
“Firstly, it is to be welcomed that, rather than further austerity, the government has decided to increase public spending and investment, particularly in the area of childcare, education and the extension of free GP care.”
“However, the increase in spending is insufficient to address the various social crises and austerity related under-investment and the indication is that this is just a once off ‘stimulus’ in an election year with government estimates showing no similar expenditure increases in coming years.”
“The increase in spending in this Budget of €750 million should also be put in the context of the €21bn reduction in expenditure over the period of 2008 to 2014. The increase in Budget 2015 is just 1/30th (just under 4%) of the austerity cuts to spending.
“…Social housing is a good example of the size of the catch-up required as a result of the lost years of austerity. Over the period of austerity, we effectively lost 25,000 social-housing units. Indeed those in housing distress (at least half a million households – most noteably those reliant on rent supplement, in emergency accommodation, in mortgage arrears, those in housing waiting lists, substandard accomodation and in light of the recent tragedy, Traveller accommodation and halting site services) are the biggest ‘losers’ in this Budget.”
“The delivery by NAMA of 20,000 housing units is being put forward as a positive measure to address supply. However, these were planned anyway and as Minister Noonan stated will be developed on a commercial basis with aim of maximising return to the taxpayer. This means they will be neither social nor affordable. “