Social cost

The government has been urged to resist demands from the IMF that areas such as the old age pension and child benefit be targeted in the upcoming budget.

It emerged the IMF has drawn up a hit-list of potential cuts or cost-saving measures, including a reduction in the old age pension; changes to child benefit — whether by income tax or means testing; methods to reduce the number of medical cards being issued and the imposition of a property tax.

Brid O’Brien of the Irish Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) said swingeing cuts imposed across broad areas could mean the country pays an economic as well as a social cost.

"It is very important that the government has a serious look at the tax base, which is too narrow, and methods of generating income.

For a summary of the IMF’s view on what Ireland needs to do next click HERE