On 11 October, Minister Noonan will announce budget adjustments for 2017. Initial promises have suggested the Government will split the €1 billion budget increase between tax cuts (one-third) and extra spending (two-thirds). Last year, the People's Budget demanded the majority of changes to the budget (59% of the money) go towards public spending on health, education and children.
This year, people have declined public spending to 56%, suggesting people want a tax cut, even though changes to USC might be as little as €2 a week to people. A representative sample of the Irish population has told us where they want Noonan to make changes to the budget. The findings suggest the spending areas which people care about the most.
Health of the Nation
The general public believe the greatest public spending investment should be made on the health service. The People's Budget demands that €213 million should be given to the health budget, already the second largest budget of all the departments after Social Protection. This would provide Minister Simon Harris with another 1.6 per cent spend which he could figure out how to spend as he travels across the country meeting with various health workers.
It would seem the public also value Government investment into education as it is the second largest spend in the People's Budget. The Union of Students in Ireland will be demonstrating against a proposed €20,000 student loan scheme to fund third level education. The union believes students can't afford this debt when they leave college. The People's Budget is seeking €105 million to be spent on education - which only works out at an additional spend of €105 per Irish student (primary, secondary and third level).
The Next Generation
In 2015, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs received €1.1 billion for the funding of programmes including child welfare, youth services and childcare. Minister Zappone is looking to provide more means to support parents with childcare costs and it seems the people agree, with people looking for a 5% increase in her budget - a further €60 million.
Where do you think money should be spent?
Take part in our People's Budget and let us know.
We will be releasing various reports across different topics and different consumer groups.
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