No key decisions on budget made yet, says Bruton
No change in basic rates of social welfare or tax expected
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton: “The budget is something that will be decided on October 15th.” Photograph: Collins Photos.
Key decision about the content of the budget have not yet been made, Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton, has said.
The Minister was responding to weekend comments by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, who said weekly social welfare rates would not be changed in the budget, to be unveiled in six weeks.
“The budget is something that will be decided on October 15th,” he said.
“All Ministers have perspectives going into that debate, and that is only right, but Cabinet will make a collective decision about what is the correct approach to deal with the budget and we will do that having got the very latest information and reviewed submissions from all sides, not just from Ministers but from broader groups within our society, so that we get the best possible budget we can,” Mr Bruton added.
The Cabinet is due to return this week after the summer recess and it is expected crunch negotiations about the shape of the budget will begin immediately.
No change in the basic rates of social welfare or tax are expected, in line with the commitments given in the Programme for Government.
The key battle will be over whether the scale of the budget adjustment is close to the €3.1 billion favoured by the troika and the Fiscal Advisory Council or whether it is less than that.
The other main focus will be on whether the bulk of the adjustment is achieved through spending cuts or whether further significant increases in taxation are also involved.
In a speech at the Humbert School in Ballina, Co Mayo, at the weekend, Ms Burton said that “in recent months, I and others have been arguing that the limits of austerity have been reached at European level”.
She warned against cutting “too far and too deeply” where social welfare rates in Ireland were concerned.
“Research shows that social transfers reduce the at-risk-of-poverty level in Ireland by more than 60 per cent – the most effective performance in the EU,” Ms Burton said.
It was “a key reason why this Government has protected core weekly welfare rates in successive budgets, and will do so again in this budget”.