Speculation by Government Ministers about major changes in December’s budget is fuelling uncertainty, damaging consumer confidence and causing confusion for businesses as a time when the economy needs certainty, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Barry Cowen.
Deputy Cowen was responding to comments made by Minister Joan Burton that she favours increased PRSI contributions from employers and employees.
Deputy Cowen said: “The economy remains weak and at a time when the Government should be focussing on ensuring there is certainty so businesses can plan for the rest of the year and employees can have some confidence about their take home pay, Ministers continue to negotiate with each other publicly about budget measures that would have a significant impact on people’s daily lives.
“The Government has already caused fear and confusion for public sector workers with Ministers openly in conflict about the Croke Part Agreement while other Ministers have left the door open to breaking the Programme for Government pledge not to change tax rates and bands and social welfare rates.
“If Cabinet ministers continue to ignore the Taoiseach and insist on flying pre-budget kites, they can forget about any sort of consumer confidence returning through the rest of this year. The Taoiseach’s authority has again been undermined and it is clear that his diktat to Ministers not to engage in budget speculation has fallen on deaf ears. in the meantime, the public are left wondering what increases and cuts to services they can expect in six months time.”