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Gilmore warns of cuts in social welfare in December Budget

CUTS in social welfare and a widening of the tax base will form part of December’s budget, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has said.

There is no doubt social welfare spending has to come down. Joan Burton has already done a huge amount of work on addressing the area of welfare fraud and overclaiming,” he said in an interview with the Irish Times.

“She gave the Government a briefing last Tuesday on the very significant progress she is making on it. In addition to that there is a whole welfare reform agenda that is being pursued. Expenditure has to come down. There is no doubt about that. That will be done,” he said.

Mr Gilmore emphasised the unity of the government parties in facing the economic crisis and said that the government was committed to getting the deficit down to 8.6pc in 2012 and would stick to that target.

“I am under no illusions that we have some very difficult days ahead in terms of decisions that we have to make. But we have to be clear in our heads what it is we are doing and what we are doing is leading a process of recovery,” he said.

The Labour party parliamentary party annual meeting was taking place today.