Friday 24 March 2017

Reports of Budget row are 'grossly exaggerated', claims Richard Bruton

Peter Flanagan and Michael Brennan

JOBS Minister Richard Bruton has said that reports of rows in cabinet over the Budget are "grossly exaggerated".

The cabinet has spent two days this week discussing the tax increases and spending cuts in the Budget, and is scheduled to meet again tomorrow (Saturday).

But Mr Bruton denied there had been rows at cabinet about the nature of the Budget cuts and tax increases.

“People will have strong views and they express them in cabinet where it should be done but I think the collaboration across cabinet has been exceptionally strong and I think dealing with this year’s budget, the reports [of rows] are grossly exaggerated,” he said.

The Irish Independent has revealed that one of the Budget measures will be a payment to employers of €1 in every €5 of the cost of taking someone off the dole queues.

Mr Bruton confirmed and Finance Minister Michael Noonan were working on “job initiatives” in the Budget.

“Michael has always wanted to be seen to support business and that is at the heart of the action plan for jobs. “Of course fiscal consolidation is important but we must do that in a way to create job opportunities,” he said.

However, Mr Bruton refused to confirm reports that the actual Budgetary adjustment figure might be reduced from €3.5bn to €3bn due to higher than expected tax returns.

“I’m not going to comment on the final announcement but that [€3.5bn] is the correction that has been set out from the very start, and that is the basis the budget is being prepared on but final decisions will depend on the assessment,” he said.

Mr Bruton was speaking at a briefing in Dublin about the work of IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland to improve co-operation between multinational companies working here to create more jobs and attract more international start-up companies.

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