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Budget Statement 2018

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Snippet Contents:

It is much easier to throw stones from the sidelines rather than to go into the battle and fight one's corner.
Our party welcomes the fact that the economy is doing very well in overall terms. GDP growth was 5.2% last year, will ease to around 4.3% this year and is forecast to soften further to a still healthy 3.5% next year. It must be noted, however, that the Department of Finance forecasts that growth will slow every year between 2016 and 2021, all this against the great unknown which Brexit remains. Growth of 3% to 4% per annum is what we need to maintain. It is a sustainable level which avoids huge pressures and overheating in the economy. While Ireland is not obliged to reach its medium-term fiscal objective in 2018, Fianna Fáil believes the Government is right to seek to do so. Achieving a balanced budget in structural terms next year is a significant milestone which will have been achieved as a result, primarily, of the sacrifices of the Irish people. Beyond 2018, establishing a rainy day fund is the right thing to do. It is a fund on which we can draw when economic conditions are less favourable. Such a fund is a sensible part of budgetary policy and will be a sure sign that we have matured and learned the lessons of the past.
The principal revenue-raising measure in the budget is the increase in commercial stamp duty to 6%. In view of where the economy is at and the use to which the proceeds are being put, we support this increase. We hope the measure will redirect some of the construction capacity being absorbed by the commercial sector into building the homes we need as a country. It is important that where land zoned for residential development is sold and actually built on, this increase in stamp duty will not apply. I welcome the Minister's comments in that regard.