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Cabinet meets to finalise Budget spending cuts

Ministers are due to meet this morning for final discussions on next month’s Budget, with welfare expected to be on the chopping block.

Michael Noonan will announce the Budget next month
Michael Noonan will announce the Budget next month
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE CABINET IS due to meet this morning to finalise the details of spending cuts to be delivered in next month’s Budget.

Decisions must be taken on around €2.2billion of reductions in order to meet the terms of the IMF/EU bailout deal. However, the Government has already announced significant cuts in capital expenditure and planned a future reduction in the public sector payroll bill.

Today’s discussions are expected to focus heavily on cuts in the Department of Social Protection, which leaked documents last week suggested would bear much of the burden of departmental spending reductions.

There has been widespread speculation that child benefits could be among the payments reduced, possibly by a sum of €10 a month. The Government has insisted that it will not decrease “basic” welfare rates, but is expected to focus on narrowing eligibility for welfare payments.

Education has also been a focus of attention, with Minister Ruairí Quinn over the weekend refusing to rule out scrapping all maintenance grants for postgraduate students.

The final Budget will be announced by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan on Tuesday December 6.

Read more: Fears mount over Budget cut to child benefit>

Read more: Quinn refuses to rule out blanket cull of postgraduate grants>

REVEALED: Government’s leaked plans for Ireland’s austerity Budgets>

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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