Tuesday, 8 October 2019
Budget 2020: Statements
Anthony Lawlor (Fine Gael)
One of the things I wrote down when I heard the Minister speak this afternoon was "prudence and caution". Everyone is talking about Brexit and the possibility of a no-deal outcome. The Minister also said that fear of an overheating economy was part of the reason it was a prudent and cautious budget. It is easy for various groups to be looking for bits and pieces of the budget. It is difficult when there is limited expenditure available but the Minister has been very smart in how he used the money. He allowed senior citizens aged over 70 to get the medical card. He is increasing the living alone allowance for people who are living alone, having perhaps lost a loved one suddenly and found their income cut in half. He has been very smart in starting up a pilot scheme on free books. I hope a school in County Kildare will be selected for that. He has been very smart in extending the free lunch scheme to schools across the country. These are the sorts of things we can do by being prudent and cautious with a budget. We start thinking how we can make things better for people by being smart and understanding what is needed.
Senators made other criticisms, including that the housing budget was not significant. Next year, €2.5 billion will be spent on social housing.