The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has called on the Minister for Finance, Charlie McCreevy, to introduce a Budget that promotes fairness in December.

ICTU says the Budget should be used to deliver all outstanding commitments for the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.

This includes taking those on minimum wage out of the tax net and also linking social welfare payments to average earnings.

On income tax, the congress is looking for tax credits to be raised in line with inflation. However, they are also calling for the Government tax base to be broadened.

They want employers to pay more in PRSI contributions and also say that the promised reduction in corporation tax from 16% to 12.5% should only be implemented in a selective way. The ICTU also said that the Government should borrow money to invest in infrastructure.

CIF urges Govt to safeguard infrastructure projectsEarlier, the Construction Industry Federation called on the Government to limit any increase in spending on public services in next year's Budget. The CIF, in its pre-Budget submission, asked the Government to safeguard spending on key infrastructure projects.

The CIF expects the volume of construction activity in Ireland to fall by 2% next year, following a projected 4% fall this year.

But if key infrastructure projects are shelved as a result of the deterioration in public finances, the CIF fears the industry's output could fall by 6%, with knock-on effects on jobs.

In its pre-Budget submission, the CIF has called on the Government to limit any increase in current expenditure to 6%, while safeguarding investment in key projects. The CIF claims that, under present funding indications, less than 60% of the roads network in the NDP will be completed by 2006.

It has also called for the abolition of the 2% insurance levy, for capital gains taxes and VAT on services to be left unchanged, and for an extension to urban renewal schemes.