Thursday, 5 August 2010

Republic's Recession 'Worst In The World'...

The Republic's budget targets remain on track despite the country being €10bn in the red, the Government said last night.

Latest exchequer figures show €17.2bn taxes were collected in the first seven months of the year - 1.4% or €247m below target.

Separate figures revealed the Irish economy shrunk 7.6% last year.

Fine Gael claimed the country had suffered the longest and deepest recession of any advanced economy in the world.

Richard Bruton, enterprise spokesman, said the rate of economic decline was five times worse than the average fall suffered by advanced countries.

"Despite all the evidence and the conclusions of the recent banking reports, some Government ministers continue to pretend that Ireland's problems were caused by outside forces, when the truth is that Ireland and its people have been the victims of catastrophic economic mismanagement," Mr Bruton said.

The exchequer deficit at the end of July was €10.2bn, down from the €16.4bn recorded at the same period last year.

But the Department of Finance said the Budget day forecast for tax revenues of €31bn in 2010 could be achieved, but warned there were still significant targets to be tackled in the days and months ahead.

Separate figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal personal spending last year plummeted by 11.1% while Gross Domestic Product fell 7.6%.

Mr Bruton said nothing was being done to get the country back to work.

"These latest adjustments are further depressing evidence that this Government has contributed significantly to the current crisis," he said.

The Labour Party said the Government could not reduce the deficit without first tackling the jobs crisis.

Sean Sherlock, a member of the Oireachtas Economic and Regulatory Committee, said: "Trying to reduce the deficit without a proper jobs and growth strategy is like a dog chasing his tail.

"The Government just doesn't seem to get the fact that growing the economy, getting credit flowing to SMEs and tackling the jobs crisis are fundamental to closing the budget deficit."

Report by Colm Kelpie - Belfast Telegraph

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