Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

11.04 12 Sep 2019


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The Finance Minister insists any tax cuts in the budget will be "targetted".

Pascal Donohoe has defended his decision to prepare this year's Budget on the basis of a no-deal Brexit.

He says the risk of such an outcome has "escalated beyond any proportion" since the Taosieach pledged income tax cuts last year.

Personal taxes will not be cut in next month's Budget.

If there are increases in social welfare payments, they will be aimed at the most vulnerable.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Minister Donohoe explained that the situation has changed dramatically in the past year - and the Government now needs to be proceed carefully.

He explained: "Any tax cuts that happen in the upcoming Budget will be targetted and quite minimal.

"We've always made very clear that when it comes to income tax that our priority first has to be to make sure that we have an economy that can afford any tax cuts or tax changes that we might make.

"If we have a deal, if we have a growing economy... those things are possible. But the risk of a no-deal means that we need to be safe and careful about what we do for next year."

He added: "Our message is that we need to ensure that we have the plans in place to protect the 2.3 million people that are at work in Ireland.

"We have the plans in place that, if we do get into a no-deal Brexit, we can help out different parts of our economy."

Tax cut

Leo Varadkar last November promised five years of income tax cuts if Fine Gael wins the next election.

Questioned about the Taoiseach's pledge, Minister Donohoe argued: "I think it's fair to say that the visibility and risk of a no-deal Brexit has escalated beyond any proportion since then.

"I'd emphasise again that when we get through this period of uncertainty - or if we avoid it because a no-deal Brexit doesn't happen - we will continue to have an economy that is capable of meeting the kind of needs that are there."

The Finance Minister also explained there are various conflicting interests when it comes to public spending.

He explained: "For every voice - and there's only a few of them - that is arguing for me to spend less, there is a vast array of voices and interests saying I am not spending enough.

"The balance I have to do is do something that I believe is right in the long-run."

Main image: File photo of Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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