Budget belt will be loosened

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin has stated today that the Budget will be “less demanding” than expected for 2015. 

Howlin made his statement to journalists this morning on his way to a Cabinet meeting where the approach to the next Budget was to be discussed.

“We certainly will not have to make the adjustments to the €2bn scale that was forecast in last year’s Budget that would be required in 2015 to get to the deficit target of 3pc or below. We’ll have a less demanding Budget than that”

The minister said that the Irish economy had improved better than expected and that the future economic outlook is improving.

A joint memo is expected today which will set out overall targets for government.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said that he expects the deficit to be reached without the need for the same level of cut back tolerated in recent years.

“In April when we were making the adjustments, we thought that it would be necessary to increase tax and cut expenditure by €2bn,” he said, also on his way to Cabinet this morning.

 “We’ll get under 3pc now by making less cuts and less tax increases. But it’s too early in the year yet to say by how much but it won’t be €2bn”