THE LEVEL OF adjustment in Budget 2014 will be discussed by Ministers at this morning’s Cabinet meeting.
Ministers Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin will present aggregate figures to their coalition colleagues ahead of next week’s public Dáil announcement.
It is expected that the total adjustment figure will be less than the mooted €3.1 billion after the IMF gave the green light to ease the figure back to below €2.8 billion.
Discussions today are likely to be followed by further Cabinet meetings later this week and early next week prior to next Tuesday’s announcement.
The split between Finance and Public Expenditure figures will be discussed at Cabinet. While Noonan’s department looks after tax and income-generating issues, while Howlin’s department examines how money is spent.
Both ministers have remained tight-lipped on options for this year’s budget but that hasn’t stopped speculation among lobby groups, other political parties and the media.
Although the government has promised not to change income tax arrangements, the possibility of widening PRSI and USC takes has been suggested.
The usual favourites of alcohol and tobacco will likely get hit with further duties but the property tax will remain at the same rate.
No changes are expected in Ireland’s famed 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate. Motor tax and VRT are also candidates for increases.
Despite a campaign by Joan Burton to protect her portfolio, there looks like there will be cuts in overall welfare payments. The core payments will be maintained but eligibility rules may change.
The outline of the fiscal plan was handed to European Union officials for informal approval over the past two days, according to Monday’s Irish Times.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin is set to reveal its pre-Budget submission later today while Fianna Fáil will launch its proposals on Thursday.
First published 6.30am