‘Growing a Strong Economy to Support a Fair Society’ Key Achievements of the Partnership Government

 

Fine Gael is delivering on its ambition is to build a strong economy and to ensure a fair society, in order to make people’s lives better.  Economic and social progress go hand in hand.  We have continued to grow a strong economy supporting people at work and we are using the resources this provides to pay for the services needed for a fair society.

 

On the economy, Fine Gael has brought in a range of policies to

  • Grow A Strong Economy
  • Prepare the Economy for Brexit
  • Revitalise the Rural Economy
  • Back Small Business and the Self-Employed

 

This growing economy has allowed Fine Gael to improve our society by

  • Investing in Public Services, for a Fair Society
  • Meeting the Housing Needs of our People
  • Supporting Families
  • Making our Older Years Better Years

 

 

Growing A Strong Economy
Jobs 175,000+ jobs have been created since the Action Plan for Jobs in 2012.

Unemployment rate is down to 7.9% from a peak of 15.1% in 2011.

Growth The economy is now bigger than the size it was before the crash.

While GDP data can be problematic for Ireland, consumer spending is a reliable domestic statistic and it grew by 4.5% in 2015 and 1.7% in 2014.

Household disposable income grew by 5.5% in 2015, and 2.7% in 2014.

 

 

Preparing the Economy for Brexit
Policy   Sensible management of the economy in uncertain times.

A new cabinet committee & new ‘Int’l, EU & NI division’ in Dept. Taoiseach

Progress Budget 2017 helps Irish business with 9% tourism VAT rate retained, new resources for enterprise agencies, & an agri-food package of measures.

Budget 2017 attracts more businesses to Ireland, with resources for the ‘Regional Action Plans for Jobs’ and USC cuts reducing high rates of tax.

 

Revitalising the Rural Economy 
Policy

 

Add 135,000 jobs outside of Dublin and ensure that the unemployment rate in every county is within 1% of the national average.

Increase capital investment in rural Ireland and deliver balanced national development, including an Atlantic Economic Corridor in the West.

Protect key local services & amenities that sustain local towns & villages, recognising role of post offices, credit unions, small schools & broadband.

Progress ‘Action Plan for Rural Development’ to co-ordinate initiatives to support economic & social progress (to be published shortly).

€150m fund for low interest loans offering cash flow support for farmers.

€107m extra funding for Rural Development Prog., to €601m in 2017.

A package of measures to help farming & agri-food sector (Budget 2017).

 

Backing Small Business and the Self-Employed
Policy

 

Keep our 12.5% corporation tax rate & reduce rate of Capital Gains Tax.

Continue USC phase out, in a wider medium-term income tax reform plan.

Increase Earned Income Tax Credit for self-employed to €1,650, by 2018.

€1bn p.a. in new sources of finance to SMEs, to supplement bank loans.

Improve access to the €8bn public procurement market for SMEs.

Progress Increased Earned Income Tax Credit by €400 in Budget 2017, up to €950.

Dental, Optical & Hearing Aid benefits for self-employed (March 2017).

Extend Invalidity Pension to self-employed workers (Dec 2017).

 

Investing in Public Services, for a Fair Society
Policy

 

€6.75bn increase in spending on public services by 2021, relative to 2016.

Ongoing public sector reform, to empower frontline service providers to make more decisions, encourage collaboration & reward innovation.

Progress €500m increase in Health in 2017, bringing total budget to €14.6bn.

Medical cards for all children in receipt of a Domiciliary Care Allowance.

2,400 new teaching posts in 2017, including 900 resource teachers.

800 new Gardaí to be hired and trained in 2017.

 

Meeting the Housing Needs of our People
Policy:

‘Rebuilding Ireland’     

The Plan contains over 80 commitments, with a Cabinet subcommittee and quarterly progress reports to drive implementation.

Double number of new houses to 25,000 p.a., a €200m Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund, & develop a strategy for the rental sector.

€5.35 billion investment to build 47,000 new social homes by 2021.

Trebling the Rapid-Build programme to 1,500 homes.

Provided €70m for the Housing Agency to buy vacant properties.

Progress Increased the housing budget by 50% in Budget 2017 to meet the housing needs of over 21,000 households.

‘Help-to-Buy scheme’, a 5% tax rebate for first time buyers of new builds, to help drive supply of new houses.

9,000 housing adaptation grants in 2017, after increased funding.

New ‘Repair and Leasing’ & ‘Buy and Renew’ initiatives to renovate private properties and buy or lease them for social housing.

 

Supporting Families 
Policy

 

To deliver a range of childcare options including subsidised childcare, opening schools to provide aftercare & support for stay at home parents.

To continue the roll out of free GP care to all children.

To introduce a new Working Family Payment promoting work by supplementing the income of a household, on a graduated basis.

To strengthen parental choice and diversity in our school system, through new forms of multi-denominational and non-denominational education.

Progress Two week’s paid paternity leave, from September 2016.

A second free pre-school year.

€960 p.a. universal support to parents of a child from 6-36 months in full time formal child care (Budget 2017).

A targeted subsidy scheme for low to middle income parents with children from 6 months to 15 years (Budget 2017).

Increased Homecarer’s credit by €100 to €1,100, from January 2017.

 

Making our Older Years Better Years
Policy

 

Increase State Pension above rate of inflation.

Reduce the cost of medicines through an annual cap on Drugs Payment Scheme & reducing prescription charges for medical card holders.

Fully protecting the Free Travel pass for all pensioners.

Increasing funding for homecare packages and home help every year.

Progress Increased the State Pension by €5 per week, from March 2017.

Cut €25 prescription charges cap to €20, for over 70s, from March 2017.

€82m increase in health services for older people, to a total €765m.