Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath has expressed serious concerns that this week’s budget will be based on party politics within the coalition rather than the national interest.
Deputy McGrath stated, “Over the last few days, the horse trading at cabinet level on the content of the budget has been played out in the media. The deep divisions that emerged between Fine Gael and Labour in recent days are most revealing. Fine Gael showed that its absolute priority in this budget is to protect those in the highest income bracket. According to reports, the pound of flesh that Fine Gael wanted in return for considering even a modest increase in tax on those earning over €100,000 was to cut the basic welfare payments to the most vulnerable people in society.
 “There are now growing concerns that this week’s budget will be more about the political priorities of Fine Gael and Labour rather than what is in the national interest. Talk of a higher rate of property tax on properties worth over €1m is little more than a sop to the Labour Party who will experience the wrath of families if reports are true that their pledge not to cut child benefit has been broken once again.
“I believe people want a budget on Wednesday that is fair, progressive and that protects the most vulnerable in society. Last year’s budget was the first since the crisis began to hit poorer income households the hardest. I sincerely hope the government has learned a lesson from last year and will ensure the burden is spread fairly based on people’s ability to pay.”