2014 is last of the difficult budgets, Gilmore says
Tánaiste says plan focuses on increasing jobs
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore: ‘This is the last of the difficult budgets. This achieves about 95 per cent of the total adjustment which is required to meet our targets.’ Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times
Budget 2014 which is designed to save €2.5 billion next year will be “the last of the difficult budgets,” according to Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore.
Mr Gilmore said the budget achieved most of the adjustments required for the Government to meet its deficit target of 3 per cent by 2015.
“This is the last of the difficult budgets. This achieves about 95 per cent of the total adjustment which is required to meet our targets. We have provided in this budget for a deficit target of 4.8 per cent which gets us much closer to the 3 per cent which is what we have to achieve by 2015,” Mr Gilmore said this morning.
- Kenny denies ‘witch-hunt’ of medical card holders
- Noonan insists ESM money for banks still possible
- Young and old left with grievances after Noonan’s third budget
- Young, old and expectant mothers to bear brunt of welfare cuts, say lobby groups
- Budget of bits and bobs fails to outrage or astound
- Budget’s blend of austerity and stimulus no surprise
- The winners and losers in Budget 2014
- Budget 20014: Full coverage
- Calculator 2014: How much will your pocket be hit?
The Irish Times takes no responsibility for the content or availability of other websites.
“We are providing for a primary surplus which will give a lot of confidence to the international markets. The projection for growth next year is that it will go up to 2 per cent.”
Mr Gilmore said this budget was the one that would take the State out of the bailout programme in December.
“This budget is the budget that takes us out of the bailout. It is a budget that is focused on increasing employment,” he said.
The budget included a wide range of spending cuts and revenue-raising measures rather than any major change in the tax or welfare system.
Mr Gilmore added that Ireland’s economy was showing signs of recovery.
“Happily we are seeing jobs being created. We will see, I hope this week, that for the first time since 2009 the live register of unemployment going down below 400,000. When we came into office 2 1/2 years ago it was heading for over 500,000,” he said.
The Labour Party leader defended budget measures which have been criticised by lobby groups for the impact that they will have on the young, the old and mothers-to-be.
Those most likely to cause political difficulty for the Government involve a tightening of eligibility limits for medical card holders, a €1 increase in prescription charges and a cut in maternity benefit.
A reduction in the income threshold for medical cards for the over-70s, the ending of the telephone allowance and the abolition of the bereavement grant are also likely to prove controversial.
The continuation of a levy on private sector pension funds, most of which are already in serious financial difficulty, and restrictions in the tax allowance for medical insurance could also be problematic.
Mr Gilmore said decisions taken over the last 2 1/2 years meant the budget was reduced by about €600 million thereby taking “some of the pressure off hard-pressed families.”
On the decision to scrap an estimated 100,000 medical cards, Mr Gilmore said surveys indicated some medical cards were no longer in use but that doctors continue to be paid for medical cards belonging to people who no longer use them.