Everyone – yes, everyone – in Ireland is €50,000 in debt, says Finance Minister
A grim stat on Budget Day.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe took to the Dáil to unveil details of Budget 2022 and while his opening remarks were mostly focused on Ireland's recovery from the pandemic, it did contain some depressing statistics.
"The expenditure associated with Budget 2022 will bring our overall national debt to just under €240 billion. That means debt of nearly €50,000 for every man, woman and child in the country," he said.
"This is not where we want to be when interest rates start to rise again. That is why we need to repair our public finances, and put them back on a sustainable footing."
However, on a more positive note, Donohoe said that with the success of Ireland's vaccination programme, the domestic economy has recovered strongly after Covid.
According to the Finance Minister, modified domestic demand - the best measure of the domestic economy - is expected to grow by 5.25% for this year as a whole and by 6.5% in 2022.
Employment is also anticipated to grow by just over 13% or 275,000 jobs in 2022.
Donohoe told the Dáil that Budget 2022 meets the "twin goals" of investing in Ireland's future and meeting the needs of today, while putting the public finances on a sustainable path.
He said public spending next year will amount to €87.6 billion and that the government intends to restore public services, phase out temporary Covid-related spending and repair public finances over the next two budgets.
"This strategy strikes the appropriate balance between tapering supports and investing in the domestic economy," the Finance Minister noted.
He added that by 2022, Ireland will only be borrowing for capital spending.
"In the Summer Economic Statement my department forecast a combined deficit of just over €34.5 billion for 2021 and 2022," Donohoe said.
"Ceann Comhairle, I am revising that forecast to €21.5 billion for both years, a reduction of approximately 40%.
"Critically, this means that our debt as a share of national income is now falling and falling significantly.
"As a share of national income, our debt will therefore fall from 106% this year, to 99% next year, reaching 89.5% percent in 2025."
Donohoe said that while it is clear the government is reducing its overall borrowing this year and next, the amounts involved are still "substantial".
For information regarding Budget 2022 announcements, see here.
Main Image via Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie