Thursday 23 January 2020

Varadkar to be spared worst of Budget cuts

Leo Varadkar TD
Leo Varadkar TD

Health Minister Leo Varadkar can expect an easier Budget in October, government sources have said.

There is an increased recognition across government that there is little or no room for further cuts to frontline services without jeopardising patient safety.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin have both stated that the overall adjustment on Budget day will be lower than the previously stated target of €2bn, with increased talk of an adjustment of less than €1bn.

Sources in Fine Gael and Labour have said they do not want to repeat last year's Budget day where figures were immediately called into question.

"Leo has gone in and managed expectation well so far. His talk of realistic budgets is being heard. No one wants a repeat of last year," said one source.

Mr Varadkar has spoken about the need for a "realistic budget" which he can stick to for next year, as he is keen to avoid the mistakes of his predecessor, Dr James Reilly.

End-of-May figures given to Mr Varadkar showed the HSE was €163m over budget.

Irish Independent

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