Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said economic growth and a return to work this year would pay for “a significant majority” of Covid income support measures.
The Minister told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show that he expects to see economic growth of 4 per cent this year and the creation of 80,000 new jobs, with further growth of 5 per cent next year and the creation of 200,000 jobs.
“We will recover, and I believe we will recover quicker than many anticipate,” Mr Donohoe said.
Increasing taxes on work and income would undermine the country's ability to create those 200,000 new jobs next year, he added.
However, the Minister said decisions on how to pay for broader public services would have to be made, while still “sensitively” recognising that as the health emergency recedes, the emergency measures in place would slowly need to be changed.
Plans to increase carbon tax were already in place and would also help to pay for recovery, he said, adding Budget 2022 would be about delivering a recovery that could respond to all the challenges in the economy.
Mr Donohoe also said the Government was considering making wage supports conditional on individuals undertaking training schemes as per an IMF recommendation that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) was conditional on re-skilling.
The PUP has played a vital role in supporting income, living standards and families at a time of an emergency, Mr Donohoe said, and any decisions on the payment’s future would reflect the fact that it was an emergency payment.