Brendan Howlin says General Election will be next spring

Mick Wallace claims capital plan investment over six years represented only 1.9% of GDP

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said Ireland ranked third in expenditure on the social areas, with only Denmark and Finland spending more.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said Ireland ranked third in expenditure on the social areas, with only Denmark and Finland spending more.

 

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has signalled the General Election will be next spring.

Answering questions in the Dail on Thursday, he twice referred to the election “next year’’.

Mr Howlin said the capital plan published this week involved an additional €27 billion in spending between 2016 and 2021.

“In setting out expenditure measures for the budget next year, the Government will look to further enhance key public services while building on the progress we have made to returning our economy to stability,’’ he added.

Independent TD Mick Wallace said the investment over the six years represented 1.9 per cent of GDP. “So between this year and 2021 the average annual increase in public investment will be less than €250 million,’’ he added. “Compare this to the Government’s intention to spend €750 million next year in tax cuts.’’

Mr Wallace said there should be more investment in services than tax cuts. “Indirect taxation in Ireland is pretty draconian,’’ he added.

Mr Howlin replied: “In terms of the expenditure versus tax reduction proportion, I think that is something we will be debating during the course of the general election next year.’’

Pressed further by Mr Wallace, the Minister said Ireland ranked third in expenditure on the social areas, with only Denmark and Finland spending more.

“I will be setting out my view, and indeed the Labour party view, on the division of tax and spend when election campaign starts next year.’’ he added.