Middle-income families to be prioritised in forthcoming Government Budget
Middle-income families and workers who "pay too much tax" will be prioritised in autumn's budget.
After last week's joint announcement by the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure, which brought the news that a budgetary surplus of up to €16 billion can be expected next year, the Taoiseach has offered up the first hints as to what to expect from Budget 2024.
Having already offered up a €1 billion welfare increase in last year's budget, Leo Varadkar has told a private Fine Gael meeting that a similar 'giveaway' budget is on the cards.
Given the marked improvement in governmental finances, Mr. Varadkar stated at the party meeting that the budgetary surplus will be spread across both this year's and next year's budgets.
The three main aspects which the coalition will focus on are spending, a tax package and setting additional finance aside for future investment.
These aspects will be aimed at alleviating the impact of the cost of living crisis for middle-income families and "earners who pay too much tax".
Mr. Varadkar also said that a generous welfare and pension package can hopefully be expected by the public.
However, despite the recent good news regarding the government's positive financial outlook, the Fine Gael leader was also quick to remind those in attendance at the meeting that caution must still be exercised given the scale of Ireland's national debt.
"There will come a time when revenues fall off and nobody in the country wants to return to the position of cutting pay, services and investment as happened with the last recession. We should never forget that our national debt dwarfs any surplus and interest rates on Government debt are rising".
Another meeting is now set for June, in which members can offer their views on other potential aspects of Budget 2024.
Discussing the topic of the housing crisis, Mr. Varadkar said that the coalition is seeking to ramp up the renovation of vacant homes, and also stated that more than 1,000 homes have now been purchased under the tenant-in-situ scheme.
The Taoiseach added that housing prices "have almost certainly peaked" and that he expects average house prices to fall by the end of the year.
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