There are “limits” to what Government can do in the face of the cost of living crisis, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said.
As The Irish Times reports, Mr Donohoe, who addressed an ESRI conference on budgetary perspectives on Friday morning, said afterwards that his focus was on what could be done at budget time — rather than anything sooner.
While he did not explicitly address whether there would be further interventions, speaking afterwards he said: “where my focus is and the focus of the Government now is what help we can give at budget time”
“There are limits to what Government can do, there are constraints that we have to be aware of, and the taxes that so many are calling on me to cut further now — particularly in the opposition — are also the same taxes that we need to pay for the public services that we have to be certain we can maintain at a time in which we are still facing challenges”.
He said measures the Government has already put in place will cost more than €1 billion this year. “I appreciate the rising cost of energy, the change in the standard of living that many are facing is a real challenge at the moment but we have already put in place a broad set of measures,” he said.
“My focus and the focus of Minister (for Public Expenditure Michael) McGrath is now on preparing the budget and at budget time putting in place the measures that we know will be needed to help many with the rising cost of living.”
It comes as the Social Democrats are calling on the government to introduce a mini budget following the publication of figures which show inflation at a 38-year high.
The party says the historic inflation rate coupled with the announcement that interest rates are on the way up in the coming weeks will compound the financial difficulties already facing many families.
Co-leader of the Party Roisin Shortall said the government need to establish an emergency fund to help those most at risk.
She said: "What is desperately needed now is an emergency fund because there are people who are going to go under as a result of these price hikes and inflation