SIPTU General President, Jack O’Connor, has said that the union strongly disagrees with the proposed distribution of available resources in Budget 2017 as outlined in the Government’s Summer Economic Statement as published yesterday (21st June). Jack O’ Connor said:“The country’s first priority must be to house our people and invest in public infrastructure, particularly as such investment was savaged during the worse years of the crisis and early recovery.“In SIPTU, we are absolutely clear that there should be no income tax reductions in Budget 2017. All resources must be used towards building up our infrastructure and supporting our public services. We do, however, welcome efforts to make our income tax system more equitable by withdrawing personal tax credit for high-income earners.“It is simply untenable that the Government plans to increase current and capital spending by just 2% in 2017 when economic growth is expected to be more than double that at 4.2% next year. This is presumably to meet restrictions under the EU Fiscal Rules. The great irony is that the Irish exchequer currently has more resources available in 2016 and in 2017 than it is permitted to spend under those Rules.“Already, we have seen the leniency shown towards the larger EU countries of France, Spain and Portugal in relation to their compliance with EU fiscal rules. The Irish government must align itself with the Italian and other governments to campaign for reform of the rules to more appropriately suit the circumstance of each individual country.“Finally, we disagree with the establishment of a rainy day fund. It will deprive the Irish economy of vital resources required to house our people and rebuild our public infrastructure.”