Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Committee on Budgetary Oversight

Fiscal Assessment Report: Irish Fiscal Advisory Council

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance) | Oireachtas source

Excellent. Deputy Lahart reads them too. The graphs detailing profits are pretty stunning. They demonstrate that profits of corporations have gone from approximately €40 billion in 2008 to €140 billion, which is stunning by any measure. I am not sure what rate wage increases have been at over that period but perhaps the witnesses know. Will they confirm that wage increases are not even close to that level of increase? To put this in layman's terms, the benefit of the absolutely spectacular economic growth that this country has seen has not gone to working people but rather to corporations.

The witnesses have outlined concerns about expenditure, saying that we cannot borrow to fund public services because of our debt position. They have argued that we must budget properly. We cannot stop spending on health, education and housing. Would it be good to focus on another rarely examined area, namely tax loopholes for the corporate sector? Will the witnesses comment on whether more focus should go on that area? Inter-group transactions are profit shifting and this has gone from €9 billion to €16 billion. These are astonishing figures, leaving aside there was a jump from €2 billion in the previous year to the €9 billion figure. Perhaps we should be looking at such things.

I have a question on approved housing bodies. Do the witnesses find it problematic that the Government's housing policy relies on a process where the expenditure on housing assistance rental accommodation scheme payments to the private sector also contains risk from a public expenditure perspective?

We do not know how much we might be charged by private landlords for providing social housing over the coming years. Would that also concern Mr. Coffey in addition to the AHBs he mentioned?


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