Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Committee on Budgetary Oversight

Remit, Terms of Reference and Priorities: Commission on Taxation and Welfare

Professor Niamh Moloney:

This really is one of the questions of the hour. For the past number of weeks, there has been a debate on inflation, which has been important. I will again go to the sense that our commission is looking at these questions at this moment in time, because five years ago inflation was not so much of an issue in considering how fiscal sustainability was to be addressed.

It is a very good reminder, and I thank the Deputy for it, of the scale of the certain and uncertain challenges that lie ahead. It is very difficult to predict how inflation is going to go. There are all sorts of different discussions and narratives around that. It is part of a very dynamic picture that our tax and welfare systems are currently grappling with. Our job is to factor that in and to be aware of all of the different headwinds that are coming over the medium to long term. There is a difference between the immediate yearly budgetary cycle and the immediate pressures and the fluctuating odds, which is about five, ten or 15 years out. The value of one's salary when taken home is fundamental to how tax and welfare works. That is part of the framework within which we will be operating. I thank the Deputy for raising the issue this evening.