Sunday 25 March 2018

Budget will be fair, says FG, while Labour says higher earners will be hit

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

TRANSPORT Minister Leo Varadkar says the Budget "has to be fair", while Labour insists higher earners will be hit on Wednesday.

It comes after a weekend of war at Cabinet, which saw a Labour demand for increases in the USC for income over €100,000 dropped after Fine Gael threatened to cut all welfare rates.

A so-called "mansion tax" - a higher property tax on houses valued at over €1m - was agreed as a compromise.

Speaking at the launch of the separation of Shannon Airport from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), Mr Varadkar said: "What everyone in Government wants in both parties is to bring about growth in the economy.

"The burden has to be borne on broad shoulders. Everyone has to make a contribution to fiscal consolidation."

Also there was Labour Junior Transport Minister Alan Kelly who said the Budget will be "progressive".

Labour Junior Housing Minister Jan O'Sullivan, who sits at Cabinet, admitted there had been "very difficult discussions" over the weekend.

On relations at Cabinet, Mr Varadkar said: "To quote the inimitable Mary O'Rourke, we're all glued together."

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, also in attendance at the launch in Dublin's convention centre, said there were "robust" exchanges but relations were "cordial".

"I think there will always be projections and speculation about what different ministers are saying," Mr Bruton said.

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