Howlin says Budget pressure less than profiled by Government

Sunday 13 April 2014 22.47
Brendan Howlin said the Government's economic strategy is working
Brendan Howlin said the Government's economic strategy is working

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has said the pressure on next year's budget will be less than that initially profiled by the Government.

Brendan Howlin made the comment in light of the forecast by the Economic and Social Research Institute which was published on Friday.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Mr Howlin said the Government’s economic strategy is working.

He said if "we see the growth that the ESRI is projecting...the pressure will be less than we profiled".

In its latest quarterly commentary, the ESRI said it expected output and employment growth this year and next to be at least as strong as 2013.

The ESRI said GNP will grow by 3.5% this year, and 3.7% next year, after a 3.3% rise last year.

Based on early trends in the Exchequer returns, the Institute said the Government can hit its fiscal target for 2015 simply by leaving taxes unchanged.

It also forecast that wage rises could return by 2016, as the economy continues to improve.

Mr Howlin also said he is confident the Health Service Executive will meet its budgetary targets.

Yesterday, it emerged that the HSE will fail to secure almost half the  savings planned under the Haddington Road Agreement. 

The details of the €200m shortfall were revealed in a confidential document seen by the Irish Times.

The expected savings in the health sector represented a large portion of the overall target of the agreement.