There will be no cuts to the old age pension in the December Budget, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has indicated.
Cork North Central Fianna Fáil TD Noel O’Flynn said he met with Minister Lenihan recently in relation to the old age pension, and is now confident that pension rates will not be cut.
“Minister Lenihan said there will be no reduction in the old age pension. He said: ‘I can’t guarantee anything else, but there will be no reduction in the old age pension’,” he said.
“Nothing is certain until the document comes out on December 7 but I’m confident that there will be no decrease in the pensions of senior citizens,” he added.
However, Deputy O’Flynn said that he did expect cuts to other social welfare benefits.
The Cork North Central TD said he that would be unable to support any measure which reduced old-age pensions, but he stressed that he had not threatened to withdraw his support for the Government.
“I don’t want people to think: ‘Here he is again, crying, wolf’. Politics is the art of the possible. I’ve often gone to the brink on different things.
“I didn’t threaten anybody, but in all sincerity and in all conscience, I could not support any measure that would see a reduction in the pension for senior citizens,” Deputy O’Flynn said.
Minister Lenihan is expected to unveil a budget of unprecedented cuts and harshness on December 7 — this day seven weeks.
In recent weeks, Minister Lenihan has confirmed that the cuts and savings in the 2011 Budget will be well ahead of the €3bn originally targeted.
Savings of up to €4.3bn are now anticipated, and a cut in social welfare rates of 3% is being mooted.
Opposition finance spokespeople have been briefed in recent days by the Department of Finance on the state of the economy, and the cost of servicing the national debt.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen will meet with Opposition party leaders later in the week to discuss plans for a four-year Budget strategy.
Article courtesy of The Evening Echo newspaper.