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|
|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|
|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|
|€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|
|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.
|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|
|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.