Dáil debates

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Financial Resolutions - Budget Statement 2020

 

1:55 pm

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)

The burden of the increase in carbon tax falls unequally. That is why I am increasing the fuel allowance by €2 per week and I will match this with increases to programmes that help address the causes of fuel poverty. I am providing €13 million for the warmer homes scheme to provide free energy efficiency upgrades to households deemed to be in or at risk of energy poverty. This reduces the energy required to adequately reheat a home, thereby reducing a household's exposure to increases in energy costs.

CIVIL SERVICE OF THE FUTURE

Finally, I am proud to be Minister for the civil service and want to pay tribute to all our civil and public servants who do great work on behalf of our country and its citizens. The number of public servants now stands at 335,000, an increase since 2014.

However, demographic changes and the next wave of technological change will place new demands on our offices and Departments. The Civil Service of the future will be different in its skills mix, use of technology and geographical footprint. We are therefore developing a longer-term vision and strategy for the Civil Service.

As part of this future strategy I have asked my officials to review future workforce and office requirements for civil servants and to report to me next year. This review will consider the location of our support offices and services to ensure consistency with the goals of Ireland 2040 and balanced regional development.

CONCLUSION

Brexit is a great challenge but our country will grow and our economy will develop. Budget 2020 aims to make progress on much, at a time of risk, but also at a time of opportunity. It invests in our future, while meeting the needs of today. It aims to further improve our national finances while the demands on public spending are so many. It marks a necessary step in our response to climate change while being conscious of the needs and difficulties that this step creates and it does all this while continuing to get our country ready for Brexit.

Measures in this budget strengthen our foundations and deepen our economic resilience. Few expected this Dáil to pass a third budget. Those hardy few predicting a fourth would hardly have predicted one such as this. Yet, here we are. We have shown that the centre of Irish politics can not only hold, but can adapt and change. It is in that spirit that I commend this budget to the House.

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