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Covid-19 impact on labour market ‘staggering’ – McGrath

he Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has said government spending this year will be in the region of €86 billion, some €16 billion more than was planned in last year’s Budget. 

Michael McGrath said the current estimates process in the run up to the Budget is a “complex one”.

He also said it was far from clear how much of that additional €16 billion will be needed again next year.  

The Minister was speaking at the annual Dublin Economic Workshop, which is being held online this year. 

Mr McGrath said a priority will be in ensuring the health service has all the resources it needs and that his department is close to finalising with the HSE “…the most comprehensive and costly winter plan in the history of the State.” 

On Brexit, the Minister said there is a still a chance a deal will be done but there is also a distinct chance of a “no-trade deal Brexit”. 

He said the economic plan which will follow the Budget next month will contain a recovery fund to support the economy in an “agile and responsive” way.  

Minister McGrath also said the impact of Covid-19 on the labour market has been “staggering” and that younger and lower paid workers have suffered a “hugely disproportionate hit”.

The Minister also said international travel will be addressed when the Government unveils the next stage of its Covid-19 response next week. 

He said the plan will give “clarity and certainty” to the industry and that the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) template in the context of international travel will form part of the plan. 

On the budget deficit, the Minister said he hopes the public finances would keep to the lower end of the €25-€30 billion range. 

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