Friday 24 November 2017

'People must be given chance to go to work'

Enda Kenny agrees middle-income families are being "squeezed" – but hasn't swung in behind calls for tax cuts for those on average incomes, writes Fionnan Sheahan.

Mr Kenny has clearly signalled, though, that he wants to see any additional resources going towards job creation.

"Whatever flexibility we can have, pump it in there so that people can have the opportunity to go to work," he said.

The coalition is at odds over where the benefits of an easier Budget should fall.

Fine Gael and Labour are already at loggerheads about tax cuts, after Jobs Minister Richard Bruton and Finance Minister Michael Noonan both backed tax cuts last month.

The party has also demanded the funds available from the Anglo Irish Bank promissory note deal go into jobs stimulus.

Labour wants to see any additional resources directed towards reducing the planned cuts for next year, particularly in social welfare.

But Fine Gael is opposed to this approach.

Mr Kenny said he wants to see job creation schemes focused upon again.

"We need really to be able to expedite the retrofitting of public buildings, the energy conservation, the schemes that are in place and for which money has been allocated, but which for one reason or another haven't actually taken off in the way that they should," he said.

"Clearly the middle sector is very squeezed here, we recognise that," the Taoiseach said.

"But the answer here is employment opportunities from which work comes and as a result of which confidence grows," he added.

Irish Independent

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