Budget 2017: Cross-party report calls for investment in education, social housing, childcare and broadband

Capital expenditure should be a Government "priority" to make up for years of under-investment, a cross-party committee tasked with looking at the Budget has found, writes Elaine Loughlin, Political Reporter.

The Committee on Budgetary Oversight has made a number of recommendations including the fast-tracking of a tax on vacant development sites and measures to address vulture funds.

The Committee published its report on Budget 2017 this evening and it will now be considered by Government.

It has found "bottlenecks" have emerged in the areas of education, social housing, childcare and broadband because of a lack of investment during the recession and capital expenditure should be "a priority" in the coming years.

The group of 15 TDs also called for greater investment in cycle paths in Budget 2017 and a prioritisation of Metro North and other incentives that encourage a low-carbon economy should be introduced to avoid hefty fines from missing EU emissions targets.

The Committee report also covers a range of spending areas and taxation issues and suggested that a withholding tax be introduced to prevent tax evasion by so called vulture funds.

Chairman of the Committee John Paul Phelan said: “The operation of vulture funds, who have bought up distressed assets from banks here, are a cause for concern as they are paying little or no tax on the profits and capital gains being made from their activities here.

“We need to close loopholes such as the operation of Section 110 and the Committee will work closely with the Minister on this issue.”

The Committee called for a "multi-faceted and long-term approach" to reforming childcare provision.

However, the committee were unable to reach agreement on the future of USC.

KEYWORDS: budget, budget 2017


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