Social Justice Ireland questions Government's budget figures


SERIOUS QUESTIONS now exist about the credibility of the Government’s budget figures and the reliability of statistics compiled by the Department of Finance, according to Social Justice Ireland.

The criticism of the Government comes after new data by the EU’s statistical agency Eurostat show that Ireland’s total tax-take is far below the EU average.

Social Justice Ireland claims these statistics raise two major questions. Namely, why the Government insisted in budget 2010 that the total €4 billion in adjustments had to be done by cuts in expenditure rather than making part of the adjustment by increasing the total tax-take as recommended by Social Justice Ireland.

The other question it poses is why the department continues to overstate Ireland’s total tax-take after claiming that the total tax-take for 2008 was 30.8 per cent of GDP while the correct figure is now seen to be 29.3 per cent.

Fr Seán Healy, director of Social Justice Ireland, said yesterday: “These new EU statistics vindicate Social Justice Ireland which has consistently maintained that the department has over-stated the total tax-take in Ireland.

“These statistics also show that on labour taxes, corporate taxes and capital taxes, Ireland has one of the lowest levels of taxation in the European Union.”

Fr Healy added that the latest figures from Eurostat also raised questions about policy decisions within the department.

“The countries with the lowest total tax-take in 2008 were Romania (28.0%), Latvia (28.9%), Slovakia (29.1%) and Ireland (29.3%). These are in marked contrast with the countries that had the highest tax-take i.e. Denmark (48.2%) and Sweden (47.1%). Capital taxes in Ireland are at the lower end of the spectrum.”