Government has ‘broken boom bust cycle’, Howlin says

Budgetary discussions expected to dominate today’s Cabinet meeting

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said the Government has ‘broken the cycle of boom and bust’. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said the Government has ‘broken the cycle of boom and bust’. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

 

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said the Government has “broken the cycle of boom and bust”.

Speaking ahead of the Cabinet meeting this morning, Mr Howlin indicated budgetary discussions would dominate today’s meeting of senior ministers at Government Buildings.

“What we’ve done now is ensure as a Government that the capacity to provide quality services that are value for money is there into the future and we’ve broken, I hope permanently, the cycle of boom and bust,” he said.

Controversial comments by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar yesterday querying whether or not key departmental reforms could achieved will undoubtedly be referred to at the meeting.

Howlin speaks before Cabinet meeting

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to caution Ministers against engaging in public dialogue about the Budget and remind them of the need to focus on recovery. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has previously said ministerial demands for expenditure represented a risk.

Asked about Mr Varadkar’s comments, Mr Howlin said he understood Ministers were looking at what was achievable when setting out priorities. “The horizon between now and the next election is short enough,” Mr Howlin said.

Although the Coalition is confident it can introduce modest income tax cuts next year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was yesterday quick to dismiss a suggestions from Mr Varadkar that workers could expect to benefit by €5-€10 per week. Mr Varadkar also said that he did not think workers would favour income tax measures at the expense of health services.

Yesterday Tánaiste Joan Burton declared that the budget next month would bring a close to the years of ever-increasing austerity as she spoke about the need for for an overhaul of the universal social charge (USC).

“One of the things about the budget that will be different is that we will be leaving the historical period of austerity arising from the troika behind us,” she said.

Noting that some €30 billion had been taken from the economy since the outbreak of the crisis, she said “anybody being honest” would know it was not possible to return such sums to the economy in a single year or even three years.