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THE BUDGET

This week’s speculation on what we can expect to see in the December Budget focuses on cuts to all welfare benefits, the slashing of tax credits and a new property tax. The Sundays are awash with the details of proposals being discussed and numbers being crunched.

The Sunday Business Post splashes with a possible 5% cut in welfare payments across the board – including every conceivable current entitlement. Quoting “senior official sources”, Political Editor Pat Leahy says discussions are ongoing on a major tax credit cut, which would broaden the tax base. The full Budget package, he says, is now expected to take between €4.5 billion and €5 billion out of the economy.

Inside, the newspaper devotes two pages to the likely tax increases to be introduced with a detailed analysis on why spending cuts will not be enough to balance the books this time around.

“It was always obvious, but now even the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance are talking about it publicly,” Editor Cliff Taylor writes. “Spending cuts cannot take all the burden of the Budget adjustment to come. Taxes will also have to rise … In the short-term, the government needs to raise cash and one of the quickest ways to do so is to hike up taxes on income.”

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