Irish PM gets tougher on budget   2011-12-05 13:57:57 FeedbackPrintRSS

DUBLIN, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny on Sunday called for tougher measures for next year's budget, reminding the public that the country is running a deficit of 16 billion euros (21.46 billion U.S. dollars).

In a televised address to the nation, Kenny said public spending must be cut by 2.2 billion euros (2.95 billion dollars), and that extra taxes must raise 1.6 billion euros (2.15 billion dollars) under the 2012 budget which would be unveiled on Monday and Tuesday.

He said the new budget would include a series of targeted measures that were specifically designed to offer jobs and get people back to work.

"It will include, among other initiatives, a new system of loan guarantees which will enable banks to resume lending and a new microfinance scheme which will help people to start their own businesses. This will allow small firms to take on one or even two employees," he said.

He said that the 2012 budget will be tough and that it has to be.

He added the budget would move Ireland toward a manageable deficit of 3 percent of GDP by 2015.

The Irish prime minister said that 50 quangos (semi-public bodies) would be abolished or merged, and the public sector would be downsized by 23,000 people by 2015.

He said a referendum to abolish the Seanad (Senate) would be held next year.

He also said that while he believed recovery had begun, the mistakes which brought the country to this point must never be allowed to happen again.

Kenny delivered the long-awaited address on the eve of the announcement of what is expected to be one of the toughest budgets in Ireland.

The Irish government will on Monday and Tuesday outline spending cuts and tax rises amounting to 3.8 billion euros (5.1 billion dollars), as it tries to bridge the hole in the public finances.

The cuts in public spending will be outlined by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin on Monday afternoon, while Minister for Finance Michael Noonan will set out taxation changes on Tuesday when he delivers the traditional Budget Day speech.

Editor: Yang Lina
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