COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER PAT Rabbitte has said he believes the package of tax increases and spending cuts being brought in as part of the Budget will be less than the anticipated €3.1 billion.
This weekend’s Irish Times reported that the coalition had been given the green light by the IMF to ease the figure back to below €2.8 billion, once the shortfall is made up in the future.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan also confirmed the reduction during the week, saying the adjustment would be “somewhat less than €3.1 billion,” but declining to give any further detail.
Speaking to RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Rabbitte said “I believe and hope the figure will be lower than €3.1 billion”.
But he added, “That doesn’t mean its going to be any easier for families who have experienced hardship over the last five years”.
“To ask people after five years to take another tough Budget is a big ask,” Rabbitte said.
He said it was important to point out that the Government is “not taking money out of the economy for no reason” and stressed that the measures were were being taken so the country could live up to its commitments and borrow money from the markets at affordable rates.
He said people would “only have to wait ten days” to find out what was in store in the Budget.
The level of the adjustment is expected to be confirmed at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, with the measures to be announced in the Dáil by Minister Noonan the following Tuesday.