Cabinet meets to discuss final changes to Budget 2016

Ministers say election date is Taoiseach’s decision amid speculation of November poll

 Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said the  measures would not amount to a giveaway Budget.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said the measures would not amount to a giveaway Budget.

 

The Cabinet is meeting to agree final adjustments before Budget 2016 is announced next week.

About €1.5 billion in tax cuts and spending increases is expected to be outlined by the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and the Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin next Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the meeting on Wednesday morning, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said the measures would not amount to a giveaway Budget but would reflect improvements in the economy.

“We want to give back as much as we can. But only as much as the country can afford as well,” he said.

He added: “It will probably be the last Cabinet meeting of substance discussing and prioritising how the Budget looks next week.”

On mounting speculation about the date of the general election being moved forward to November, Mr Coveney said: “I can tell you one thing for sure, that won’t be decided this morning.

“There’s only one person who has the responsibility to make the decision on that and that’s the Tasoieach and I think he speaks for himself on it.”

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan told reporters: “the Taoiseach has said and the Tánaiste has said and the position of Government is that [the election] will be in the spring, after Lá Fhéile Bríde [February 1st] some time”.