Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Government's Plan for Ireland: Exclusive... Part 2

Here is the document I promised to post, with some of my own comments in italics.

Part 1:

28 January 2009

Framework for a Pact for Stabilisation, Social Solidarity and Economic Renewal

1. The Challenge
…While the uncertainty about international developments makes predictions difficult, Ireland now faces the prospect of:
  • a reduction of up to 10% in national income over the 2008-10 period (January 9, 2009 Addendum to the Irish Stability Programme Update from the DofF states that we are expecting a cumulative of 6.2% decline in GDP and an 8.2% decline in GNP. Where is the ‘up to 10%’ figure is coming from?)
  • a loss of more than 120,000 jobs over 2009 and 2010 (this is consistent with DofF latest forecast, so if the Government expects national income to fall more than the DofF predicts, should the unemployment figure expectations be higher as well?)
  • an increase in unemployment to more than 10%
  • tax revenues in 2008 more than €8 billion below expectations, and a further fall projected in 2009, creating an unsustainable Exchequer deficit
  • without further adjustments, a General Government Deficit in the range of 11% to 12% of GDP for each year up to 2013
There are in fact significant downside risks to these projections including:
  • a steeper or more prolonged downturn in our main trading partners
  • the possibility that global financial market problems deepen or persist for some time
  • further exchange rate appreciation
  • a further decline in international and domestic confidence and investment
(So nothing really to do with us, then? Clearly our leaders do not think that the loss of competitiveness, sky-high costs, climbing taxes, inept governance, lack of any economic development platform for the future and a host of other problems besieging Ireland Inc are not something we should be concerned in the future...)

This document therefore sets out a framework within which the Government and Social Partners have agreed to develop a Pact for Stabilisation, Solidarity and Economic Renewal.

2. Shared response through partnership

...In developing a Pact, the Government and Social Partners are fully committed to an approach in which all sectors of society contribute in accordance with their ability to do so, and conversely the most vulnerable, low paid, unemployed and social welfare recipients are insulated against the worst effects of recession.

(It will be interesting to see how the Government is going to achieve this. Is the Revenue going to treat those of us who become unemployed in 2009 when it comes to collecting taxes for 2008 with kid gloves by ‘insulating’ us from the need to pay back taxes if doing so puts our families over the edge or is this a case of caring going too far? The Government certainly gave it no thought when it raised taxes in Budget 2009.)

The Government and Social Partners believe that by making the correct decisions now, and committing to working together through the further difficult challenges which lie ahead, we can deliver reforms which allow us to still realise our shared goals for Irish society, most recently outlined in Towards 2016, while also laying the foundations for sustainable economic recovery.

(Need I remind you that Towards 2016 is a document primarily designed to reward public sector workers, offering nothing to the vast majority of our private sector employees, taxpayers and consumers. Furthermore, I personally fail to see how, if the Government expects the crisis to continue through 2013, can we deliver on what was originally conceived as an 10-year long plan within 2 last years of its existence?)

More to follow...

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