There aren't many numbers in the programme for government. According to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, that was a deliberate decision.
The rationale is there is so much uncertainty on the extent of the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, that it is difficult at this stage to be specific on commitments.
The first indication we will get will be next month. It is planned that a new government would unveil a stimulus plan which would include a Recovery Fund. There are no figures on the scale of the Fund either.
The Fund will concentrate on infrastructure and focus on employment-intensive programmes like the retrofitting of houses and public transport. It will also be used to fund retraining for jobs and to support a range of measures to help companies.
The July Stimulus, as it’s called in the plan, will also set out the future of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.
A bigger, more substantial plan on the economy will be published at budget time in October.
The National Economic Plan looks to be a big set piece. Its outline includes a raft of proposals on improving funding and supports to businesses.
It also looks to link in with the European Green Deal to make the future economy more sustainable.
The programme also makes a couple of clear statements about economic policy. It says it will aim to reduce the deficit and over the medium term to return to a 'broadly balanced budget’.
It says it will use both tax and expenditure measures to 'close the deficit and fund public services'. It says it will focus on taxes like the carbon tax which aim to change peoples' behaviour.
It commits to no increase in income tax or USC rates. The programme outlines that in Budget 2021, there will be no change to income tax credits or bands.
But, from Budget 2022 onwards, if incomes start to grow again then credits and bands will be index-linked to the growth in earnings. This, it explains, will prevent more people paying tax at the higher rate.
It commits to the 12.5% corporation tax rate and says it will continue to co-operate with the reforms under negotiation by the OECD.
It says it will seek to negotiate a new public pay deal with the public service unions.
It says it’s going to work with the Central Bank and the banks to develop more long-term fixed rate mortgages. It’s also going to examine if state-backed mortgages might be introduced to help first time buyers.
There will also be a new Commission on Welfare and Taxation which will examine how the tax and welfare systems will adapt to aging demographics, the move to a low carbon economy and the challenge posed by ‘digital disruption and automation’.
On property tax, it makes a commitment that most homeowners will face no increase. However, it will bring in new homes which have been exempt up to now.
It also says a future government will prioritise insurance reform. It says it will establish a cabinet sub-committee ‘to deal urgently’ with the issue. It says it’s going to place perjury on a statutory footing, in order to tackle insurance fraud. It says it’s going to ‘consider’ changes to the Occupiers Liability Act and Civil Liability Act.
There's a lot of content here and a lot that's been raised 'for consideration'. It may be frustrating to some that there's no firm commitments on the amount of money allocated to specific investments.
But the parameters have been broadly sketched. The priorities have been highlighted. Now we'll have to see how much the evolving impact of Covid-19 on the economy will allow them to do.