Election 2020: Are we all socialists now? And six other big economic questions

Smart Money: The seven big economic questions raised by the campaign

Should the State play a greater role in areas such as childcare and housing? The voters will have their say on Saturday.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Should the State play a greater role in areas such as childcare and housing? The voters will have their say on Saturday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

As the election enters the final lap, economic policies remain a key focus, particularly those related to spending in areas such as housing. The campaign has raised some important questions – only some of which will be answered by Saturday’s vote. Among these are the implications of a shift to the left and the big scraps about who can be “trusted” with the public finances. Here are the key questions and what they might mean for what comes next.

1. Has Ireland gone socialist?

Sinn Féin’s call for the State to take on a more direct role in housing, in particular, but also in areas such as childcare has clearly struck a chord. But it is part of a general leftward shift, in the sense of state involvement at least. Fianna Fáil is also calling for a step up in local authority house construction and parties such as the Greens, Labour and Social Democrats all have variations of the same in their manifestos. So even if Sinn Féin have no role in forming the next government, whoever is in power is likely to try to ramp up local authorities to build more homes – and conceivably also push for a greater State role in other key “quality of life”areas such as childcare.

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