Taoiseach warns tax hikes on way in Budget
TAOISEACH Brian Cowen last night gave his starkest warning yet to workers that tax hikes are on the way in the December Budget.
He refused to comment on whether this would involve lower-paid workers being drawn into the tax net, or whether child-benefit payments would be cut.
But Mr Cowen said the gap of €18.5bn between what was coming in and going out of the public finances had to be tackled.
"We now have to come forward and see how we will reduce that considerably through growth in the economy where we can identify it and have it implemented, tax increases and also expenditure cuts. They are the three ways that you deal with that gap," he said.
Mr Cowen was speaking at a conference in Dublin yesterday to promote the medical-technology industry, which employs 30,000 people and exports goods worth €6.8bn every year.
He praised the companies for creating many well-paid jobs and for achieving a 9.3pc increase in exports of their goods last year.
Mr Cowen said it was "terribly important" to show that the country was prepared to take the necessary steps to tackle the deficit in the Budget, so as not to undermine the confidence of international investors.
Mr Cowen said the Government would also be helping companies in the medical-technology sector and others to access the €500m "Innovation Fund Ireland".
Mr Cowen is due to announce details today of the fund's first investment in a top global Venture Capital company, which will set up operations in Dublin to invest in Irish companies.