Ireland’s new government celebrated 100 days in office with a vow not to increase income tax or cut social welfare payments in the December budget.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny and his deputy Eamon Gilmore categorically refuted suggestions from within cabinet last week that taxes would rise and welfare payments would be cut.
The pair addressed the nation from the steps of the Irish parliament when they made it clear that no such measures are on the agenda despite the difficult financial situation now prevailing.
Stealth taxes and cuts in public services are on the agenda however as the coalition government looks to cut spending by €3.6billion under the terms of the EU/IMF bail-out.
Kenny was adamant on the issue of taxation when he said: “There will not be any income tax increases in the Budget.”
The Prime Minister added: “I say that because it is fundamental to the Programme for Government and also because it is very necessary in difficult times, it’s important that people be able to have some planning put into their lives.
“We will have to do more with less in the coming year.”
Labor Party leader and deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore also ruled out any cuts in social welfare in the Budget as he called for more spending to increase growth in the troubled Irish economy.
“In order to underpin that, I think there’s an obligation on Government to provide certainty, because obviously people are looking at what their incomes are going to be like towards the end of the year, whether they’re on social welfare or whether they’re in employment and paying income tax,” said Gilmore