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"Boom and bust" cycle at an end, hopefully --- Howlin

This morning’s Cabinet meeting could be a tense one after Leo Varadkar’s comments yesterday about the Budget…

Brendan Howlin.
Brendan Howlin.
Image: Niall Carson/PA

Updated at 10am

THE MINISTER FOR Public Expenditure says that the Government has put strategies in place to ensure there’s be no return to a ‘boom and bust’ cycle in years to come.

Brendan Howlin was speaking on his way in to Cabinet this morning.

He said yesterday that the Budget — to be delivered next month — will be broadly neutral, but warned that there was no scope for a giveaway.

“We now have the capacity to plan for the future, but we can’t deliver in one Budget or even in two or three Budgets,” Howlin said this morning.

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

This morning’s meeting follows comments from the Taoiseach yesterday that no decisions has been made on the upcoming Budget. That followed earlier comments from Health Minister Leo Varadkar speculating about a “modest” package of tax cuts.

Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images - Leo Varadkar

“It might be a fiver a tenner in your payslip every week — and I think people would like to see that because it would mean real evidence that the economy is recovering,” Varadkar said in a radio interview.

He went on to say that people wouldn’t welcome any package of tax cuts if it came at the expense of health services. It’s reported the Minister is to ask for €500 million in his budget next year, in a bid to end annual overruns in his Department’s spending.

Varadkar also said he couldn’t put a deadline on when free GP care for under-sixes would be brought in; the measure was announced in the Budget last year as part of a planned roll-out of universal GP care for the entire population.

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He also reiterated that the HSE wouldn’t be scrapped this year, as envisaged by his predecessor.

James Reilly, who was replaced by Leo Varadkar in this summer’s reshuffle, published plans in November of 2012 to dissolve the HSE and replace it with a new structure of purchasers and providers. But in briefing documents posted on the Department of Health’s website on Friday, officials called the proposals “unworkable”.

Speaking at an event in Dublin later yesterday, the Taoiseach said:

I’m always sort-of amused that it’s so easy to produce 300 pages of recommendations as to why things can’t be done. I’m much more interested in discussing Government policy as to how things will be done.

Enda Kenny said he hoped the Health Minister would bring recommendations to Cabinet soon with “indicative timelines as to when these can be achieved”.

Read: Here’s why Fine Gael transfers could decide the ‘Ming’ by-election

Read: What do people think of Leo’s big plan to tackle health insurance?

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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