Consider yourself well and truly softened up for Budget 2011! Will it be €4Bn, €5Bn, €6Bn, €7Bn - hey what's a few Billion between friends!

Further thoughts folks -  it’s now clear that the barely-discernable green-shoots of dissent in the Labour Party over the feasibility of achieving what was a fortnight ago a €7.5Bn downwards fiscal adjustment by 2014 are now well and truly withered away – the only disagreement being what should be cut and how the tax-take can be increased to achieve the new €15Bn target.

Taking €15Bn out of the economy – on top of the €14Bn that has already been taken out over the past two years- will have a totally devastating effect on the funding of community and voluntary organisations and the services and supports we provide with-and-for vulnerable people.

And this will be on top of what would appear to be the now-inevitable cuts to benefits and pensions and the jobs-haemorrhage that will continue from the starvation-diet on which the economy is being put.

Where is this additional €7.5Bn going to come from? (on top of the €7.5 Bn that was already going to wreak havoc on the lives of vulnerable people)

It seems that it’s not going to come from bond holders, it’s not going to come from corporation tax. It’s not going to come from the Croke Park deal, and not much, it appears, will come from tax increases levied on those who can afford to pay more. 

It’s going to come from somewhere though – and I fear that it is increasingly clear where!

I think the time has now come for publicly-funded community and voluntary organisations to challenge the fairness of all of the abovementioned areas that appear to have been insulated from having to contribute to making up this additional €7.5Bn

Where is the equivalent deal to protect essential services delivered by Community and Voluntary organisations?

Where is this extra €7.5 Bn going to come from? 

Some of it will come from the aforementioned apparently now-inevitable cuts to benefits and pensions that I have mentioned. The rest will have to come from tax increases (which the Minister seems averse to, noting yesterday the “received economic wisdom” that expenditure cuts are preferable to tax increases); cuts to the capital expenditure budget (which is being rigorously defended by IBEC, CIF etc); and from the service-budgets that fund 65% of the work that community and voluntary organisations do with and for vulnerable people.

 Fair?

 The unemployed will of course continue to pay increasingly

I repeat - where’s the deal to protect the essential services and supports community and voluntary organisations provide?

Are we doing enough to protect the vulnerable people who depend on our community and voluntary social infrastructure?

 

Views anyone?