mixed bag an attempt to minimise pain
He said that the Government had reduced the level of social welfare cutbacks from 440m to 290m and had brought down the overall Budget target from 3.1bn to 2.5bn.
In his Budget speech, he insisted that he was not ideologically committed to austerity and, like Finance Minister Michael Noonan, he sought to put the blame on Fianna Fail.
“A Swarovski Crystal usterity is what is left after Fianna Fail in governmen Swarovski Crystal t drove the economy into the ground and left us beholden, like the famine victims of old, to seek relief outside this country,” he said.
The key spending cuts
Mr Howlin confirmed that the dole for young people aged 22 to 24 would be cut from 144 to 100 and from 188 to 144 for those aged 25.
However, he said young people could still get 160 pe Swarovski Crystal r week on the scheme for returning to education.
“It is in education and training that our young people should be,” he said.
Mr Howlin signalled that many people would lose their existing medical cards with 113m to be saved from a review.
And another 25m will be saved by removing cards from people over 70 who do not meet the reduced income guidelines.
There were shouts of protest from the opposition when Mr Howlin announced that the free telephone allowance for elderly people would be scrapped to save 44m. He also inflicted a cut in maternity benefit for mothers on the higher tax rate, with the maximum state payment going from 262 to 230 per week.
The good news
Mr Howlin announced 37m in funding to provide free GP care for c Swarovski Crystal hildren under five. He said there would be an extra 20m to develop community mental health services.
Mr Howlin said that the Government had committed 10m to help the families in the fire hazard Priory Hall apartments in Dublin, which was a “a particular blot on the national psyche”.
He also said there would be a 10m fund for ghost estates and 30m for 500 new social houses.
He said this was possible because of the savings under the Haddington Road agreement with the public sector, with the pay bill due to come down by 500m next year.
He said that there would be no changes to the pupil teacher ratio, meaning that schools will not be losing teaching posts or experiencing a rise in class sizes.