Taoiseach says budget will make ‘progress’ on tax and social welfare

By Cillian Sherlock, PA

The next budget will include “progress” on tax, social welfare, and supports for parents, the Taoiseach has said.

Simon Harris was speaking after Tánaiste and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he wants to see a €10 increase in child benefit as well as a pension increase and another round of winter energy credits in the next budget.

Asked about the budget speculation following the Fianna Fáil ard fheis, Mr Harris said every party had a “right to set out its stall” on issues they want to work on.

While he said he did not want to provide a “running commentary” on proposals between now and the budget, the Fine Gael leader said added: “The next milestone will be the Summer Economic Statement where (finance minister Michael) McGrath and (public expenditure minister Paschal) Donohoe will have an opportunity to set out the parameters in terms of the what the budgetary framework looks like.

“It’s important to me that I lead a stable government, it’s important to me that I lead a government that can deliver a budget in the autumn that can deliver for people.

“And what I can definitely say is this, because of the condition that our economy is now in, because of the incredible efforts that the Irish people, because of the sound economic policies that we have pursued over the last several years, we will be in a position, of course, to deliver a budgetary framework that will make progress on a number of areas, including in relation to tax, including in relation to social welfare, including in relation to supporting children and parents.”

The National Economic Dialogue, which is key stakeholder engagement in the annual budget process, will take place on May 27th.