Missed chance to cut €200bn national debt

 

Sir, – In its Summer Economic Statement, the Government once again does not address the issue of the national debt. In my view, this is putting the country’s finances at risk in the event of a downturn (Front page, June 26th).

Currently, the country owes over €200 billion. What is not considered is the fact we are paying more than €5 billion annually in interest to service it.

To put that in perspective, there are 2.3 million people in employment and hence liable for income tax. Each one of these pays €2,200 annually in taxes to service that debt.

That is to say, we get no value from this payment in terms of services provided as it goes to the lenders of the money. Think what the Government could do with that €5 billion of tax revenue if it were not being spent on interest payments.

As the economy grew over recent years the government should have been running surpluses to reduce the debt. As we are approaching the budget, I appeal to the Government to reconsider its stance and to put in place a plan to significantly reduce the national debt.

For those of us old enough to remember, over the past several decades, our economy has gone through a boom and bust cycle about every 10 years. On that basis alone, disregarding Brexit and other disturbing developments on the international front, we are due a downturn in the next few years.

The national debt is the biggest burden on (and risk to) the economy and yet there is no political discussion around how we should go about reducing it. – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN MURPHY,

Sandycove, Co Dublin.