Cowen does not rule out FG proposals on jobs


TAOISEACH Brian Cowen said he did not wish to “dismiss or guarantee” accepting Fine Gael’s proposals on job creation.

Mr Cowen said Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan would make decisions on tax proposals and bring them before the Cabinet, following which they would be outlined to the Dáil in the December 9th budget.

“We all recognise, in the context of the debate in terms of protection of employment, the need to avoid increasing marginal rates of tax if we want to maintain employment and to create further employment for the future,” he said.

The Taoiseach was replying to Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, who urged the Government to accept his party’s pre-budget proposal to introduce a tax cut on employment.

“Fine Gael’s constructive suggestion is made in the interests of easing the crushing burden on employers, of making it easier for employers to retain employees and of ensuring those on the minimum wage and in receipt of low income remain outside the PRSI net,” Mr Kenny said.

Mr Cowen said the budget would not simply be a book-keeping exercise.

He added: “It is about repositioning the country to be more competitive for the future.

“It is recognised by all sides of the House that corrections of the order of €4 billion are necessary.

“I agree the economic debate is not simply about that but, in the context in which we can move forward, if we are to effect economic recovery, part of the pillar of that recovery is to restore order to the public finances.”

Mr Kenny said he hoped the Taoiseach could go beyond that and examine carefully what was a well thought-out, well-costed, serious proposition from Fine Gael to ease the burden on employers and to allow the creation of up to 30,000 jobs in the coming years.