Monday 20 November 2017

Budget not about FG or Labour wins, Kenny insists

Fiach Kelly, Political Correspondent

THE BUDGET is not about Labour or Fine Gael getting victories over each other, but is about a “collective responsibility” to fix the economy, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Mr Kenny was speaking at the Fine Gael parliamentary party think-in in Co Laois, and amid speculation that Labour needs a “win” in the Budget ahead of next year’s local elections.

The junior coalition partner is slumping in the polls, and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore is insisting the planned €3.1bn in cuts and taxes will not be brought in, with Labour pushing for a €2.5bn adjustment.

But Mr Kenny said: “This is not about individual parties. The win-win here is for the country and for the people."

Fine Gael TDs will be discussing jobs, the Budget and the economy this afternoon, and Mr Kenny also said it is too early to decide the exact level of cuts-and-taxes for the October 15 Budget.

“The Budget is a collective responsibility of government, what I have heard over the last period has been speculative because we are not in possession of the information from the national accounts or from the Department of Finance, or in respect of the complete picture in respect of tax, income, in order for the Government to make its collective decision," Mr Kenny said.

Also speaking at the think in, Environment Minister Phil Hogan said there is now “some room for maneuver” in the Budget.

But Finance Minister Michael Noonan also says it is too early to tell, and said his main aim is to achieve a "primary surplus" with the Budget to get back to the markets. 

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