Wednesday 13 December 2017

Varadkar wants €8bn target for Budget cutbacks

Leo Varadkar Photo: Tom Burke
Leo Varadkar Photo: Tom Burke

Aine Kerr Political Correspondent

A SENIOR Fine Gael TD has claimed that up to €8bn in cuts should be made in this year's Budget.

Leo Varadkar said he wanted a different approach to be taken, arguing that "frontloading" the multi-billion cutbacks required over the next four years would mean fewer austere Budgets in the future.

However, the "frontloading" could leave Fine Gael open to charges of "austerity overkill" and of damaging consumer confidence further.

And Mr Varadkar had no specifics on from where the billions would be cut.

At the moment, the Government and opposition parties are signed up to reducing the national deficit to 3pc by 2014.

Officially, Fine Gael has not yet put any figure on how much it would cut from this year's Budget or how it would go about cutting the deficit.

A party spokeswoman claimed the views expressed by Mr Varadkar were his "personal ones".

But the Fine Gael frontbench TD said his party was in favour of frontloading.

"You could be talking about four billion, five billion, six billion or even seven or eight billion if you thought the balance could be struck," Mr Varadkar said in a Sunday newspaper.

He said the cutbacks should be frontloaded only to the point where they delivered lower international interest rates on government borrowing, at the cost of the minimum impact on growth.

"Fine Gael hasn't agreed how much yet. What we have agreed is that we should frontload as much as possible," the Fine Gael TD added.

Last week, at Fine Gael's frontbench meeting, it was agreed by TDs and senators that the adjustment should be frontloaded.

The party accepted that setting a figure would be a "difficult judgment call".

Irish Independent

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