Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s refusal to confirm that Government promises on income tax and social welfare rates will be honoured in December’s budget will cause alarm among welfare recipients and people in employment, according to Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath.
Deputy McGrath stated, ‘During this morning’s interview on Morning Ireland, Taoiseach Kenny was given several opportunities to restate the Government’s promise not to increase income tax or to cut welfare rates in next December’s budget. These were promises first made at election time, were then included in the Programme for Government and were reaffirmed by the Taoiseach and Tánaiste on the Government’s 100th day in office. However, the Taoiseach was less than clear on the status of those promises today.
‘The Government cannot claim that a worse than expected economic picture has meant the promises have had to be abandoned. The exchequer returns so far in 2011 are marginally ahead of what was provided for in last December’s Budget. In addition, savings of €500m – €600m in 2012 have been secured on Ireland’s national debt interest bill. The Government has raised €1.9 billion over four years to fund a Jobs Initiative.
‘While the 2012 growth projection for Ireland is currently being re-assessed in light of developments in the international economy, the Government cannot blame budgetary or economic conditions for reneging on solemn promises it made to the Irish people.
‘The time is fast approaching when the FG and Labour will have to make budgetary decisions of their own. It will become clear in the weeks ahead whether the income tax and social welfare promises are as dispensable to FG and Labour as all the other pre-election promises they have since walked away from.’