Speaking after the publication of the Summer Economic Statement today, SIPTU General President, Jack O’ Connor, said that the forecast of a structural balanced budget in 2018 should not be seen as any great achievement at a time when major capital investment is needed. “The constraint imposed by the fiscal rules along with the Government’s own conservatism has meant that there will only be an additional €500m or less than 0.2% of GDP available in extra capital spending next year,” Jack O’Connor said. He also criticised the decision of the Government to divert badly needed monies to the so called ‘rainy day’ fund. “This is being presented as a prudent measure designed to weather future economic storms, but it is nothing of the sort. It makes little economic sense for the State to hoard cash at a time where interest rates are close or at zero and when the State could be investing that same money into much need strategic infrastructure which will yield a long term economic return.” He added that the contingency fund will deprive the economy of necessary capital and current expenditure.