Health Spending Remains on Target Despite Government Fearmongering

Labour Finance spokesperson Joan Burton TD has questioned the recent Government fearmongering about health spending when the June Exchequer returns show the Department of Health coming in €45m below target. She again called for a Standing Commission on Taxation following the revelations that the Goodman Group paid almost no tax on €170m in profits, and expressed concern at the capital underspend in Housing.

Deputy Burton said:

“June is always an important month for the Exchequer returns as we have six months of data to examine. What it shows is that despite weeks of Government fear-mongering about health spending, the Department of Health current spending came in €45m below profile, while hundreds of families are stuck waiting for home care packages.

“It is interesting that corporation tax receipts for the month of June came in €174m ahead of profile or nearly 8% above target for the month. June is when many companies file their tax returns, and it is of concern that the monthly profile targets are still so wide of the mark meaning that we still can’t accurately predict the revenues that corporation tax will bring in. The overall 6-month target is €59m below profile, but it is a figure we will continue to monitor carefully. In the context of the upcoming budget the Government should also carry out a study of what the impact of US tax reform, and the implementation of digital sales tax in large EU countries will have on future corporation tax revenues.

“The revelation in today’s Irish Times that Goodman Group companies paid almost no tax on €170m in profits from companies registered abroad but with nearly all their economic activity in Ireland raises further questions about our tax system.

“Tax avoidance of this scale is deeply concerning. For some time, I have called for a Standing Commission on Taxation, and an effective minimum tax on corporation profits. Such measures would ensure a minimum level of tax is paid. I am disappointed that the Minister still refuses to address these issues.

“It’s time we took on tax avoidance and showed the ordinary tax payer that there is not one rule for them, and another for the wealthy and large companies. Tax justice matters.

“Six months into the year, I am also concerned at the €45m underspend in the Housing capital budget. We are in the middle of a housing crisis, and I have been informed of the difficulties many Councils have in progressing social housing projects, so this further illustrates the need to ensure that public developments are fast-tracked as quickly as possible and not slowed down by Departmental bureaucracy.”