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Leo Varadkar calls for one year halt to public sector increments to save €200m

TRANSPORT Minister Leo Varadkar has called for public sector pay increments to be halted for a year to save up to €200m.

Mr Varadkar said it’s hard to justify giving any pay increase when services are being cut.

The minister admited stopping increments would “probably” constitute a breach of the Croke Park pay deal, but the agreement also said there would be no pay increases so it was a “grey area”.

“It's very hard to justify giving anyone any kind of pay increase in the year ahead while we are cutting services and I think that is one that is particularly difficult,” he said.

Mr Varadkar’s comments come in the wake of Public Spending Minister Brendan Howlin and Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte failing to rule out income tax hikes or social welfare cuts next year.

Health Minister James Reilly is also flagging the possibility of changes to the Croke Park deal by cutting overtime in the health service.