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Tuesday 23 January 2018

€3bn in cuts still the aim for December 7

ine Kerr and Patricia McDonagh

THE public will have three weeks before Christmas to digest the cost-cutting Budget after Finance Minister Brian Lenihan last night set the date for Tuesday, December 7.

And he insisted the figure of €3bn in savings and cutbacks still stood.

The minister claimed there remained "a great deal of confidence" abroad in the Government's economic decisions.

"I believe if we hold our nerve, we will get through this difficult patch," he said.

"We are not seeing a decline in our economic growth this year. We are seeing a stabilisation because the international markets are confident we are taking our affairs in order."

Exports were robust and increasing, which was "very unusual" in the EU context.

Full details of the Government's plans would be announced on December 7.

"The Budget will not be just about the public finances. It will include measures to boost confidence in the economy," he said.

Meanwhile, junior minister for older people Aine Brady refused to say if the elderly would be immune from Budget cuts.

"Nobody can be given a commitment at this stage. It is too early as it is not until December," she said.

"I will be making representations on their (the elderly's) behalf about the pensions and also about all of the other benefits. Nobody can be guaranteed."

Irish Independent

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