Thursday, 22 March 2012
Finance Bill 2012 (Certified Money Bill): Committee and Remaining Stages
Aideen Hayden (Labour)
I agree with the Minister, in that the ESRI does not have a monopoly on ultimate truth. It is important to point out that, in recent years, widespread use has been made of the pre-budget process whereby organisations have the capacity to approach Departments, in particular the Department of Social Protection, concerning the impacts of proposed and supposed measures on the lowest deciles in society. The Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Burton, has made it clear that she intends to change the pre-budgetary process to allow for a longer lead-in period during which the public, Members and interest groups can feed into the budgetary process in a more transparent way than was the case under previous Governments.
While I appreciate the sentiment behind this recommendation, the Government has already committed to pre-proofing budgetary measures to avoid the situation that obtained many years ago when Ministers for Finance arrived with their briefcases in their hands and everyone waited with bated breath to see what would happen.