Cabinet looked at bringing budget forward

Wed, Oct 10, 2012, 01:00

THE CABINET held serious discussions about bringing the budget forward from its December 5th date to avoid a repeat of damaging “kite-flying” in the run-up to its announcement last year.

A senior Minister disclosed yesterday that there had been talk among the Coalition partners before the summer to avoid a repeat of last year’s experience where there were dozens of leaks about potential cuts in the two months leading up to the December budget.

Many of those proposed cuts leaked by sources in big-spending departments – especially social protection and health – did not materialise.

“There was talk of bringing the budget forward,” said the Minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity, “but that’s not happening.”

It is understood that a date in November was considered.

The Department of Finance was not keen to bring the budget forward because of the disruptive effect it would have had on planning, especially in the context of a four-year programme with the troika of international lenders.

The Minister spoke in the wake of a number of possible cuts being made public despite warnings from senior Cabinet Ministers that what one TD described as “last year’s scare-athon” would not be repeated.

On Sunday night Minister of State Alan Kelly hinted that the €95 million subvention for fee-paying schools could be scrapped in the future.

Yesterday The Irish Times said a report prepared for Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton was proposing cuts to disability allowances for those aged 16-18.

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn said that it did not help to have people thinking aloud as people take the ideas to be decisions, raising unnecessary concerns.