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:

I thank the Chairman for that very good question. It goes to something we are very conscious of doing, which is having an evidence base. One of our challenges relates to longitudinal evidence. We are trying to look out to 2030, 2040, 2050 in order to get a sense of the long-term pressures and so we are looking around corners. We are benefiting from much of the Government evidence that is out there and we are drawing on international evidence. For example, one of our terms of reference calls out good public health policy. While this is an enormous challenge in some respects, particularly as regards poor diet and the challenges that creates, it is an issue that many of the major advanced economies are grappling with and so we are able to access policy debates from across Europe. There are many debates going on about how different forms of welfare tax support might be structured to respond to public health challenges. We are very conscious of having a strong evidence base. We are lucky in that we have a very strong secretariat, that is very effective and nimble. We would be very grateful for support across the Civil Service and Government for the type of data that would feed our discussions. We are very thankful for the level of support we have received thus far, but it is something we are very conscious of. We would be anxious to make sure that when we are making our recommendations we can support why we are going in certain directions.