Labour ministers warned not to ‘over-egg’ budget

Labour ministers have been warned not to oversell the Budget as the Coalition prepares to announce its first long-term spending and taxation measures since leaving the bailout.

Senior and junior party ministers held a pre-budget announcement meeting behind closed doors yesterday.

Tánaiste Joan Burton told her ministerial colleagues to be focused about bedding the recovery down and not to overplay elements of today’s budget.

When details of the taxation elements of the budget were discussed among Labour ministers, they were told how today’s announcements would help low and middle-income families.

“It’s reasonably positive from our side,” said one minister afterwards. “The discussion was about getting the recovery bedded in, and not overplaying it. If you over-egg this, there’s always going to be a cohort who are disappointed.”

A separate senior Labour source said that the message going out to ministers was to safeguard the recovery.

Labour sources have also confirmed that Ms Burton’s department will oversee some of the extended water charges alleviation measures.

An allowance of €100 has already been agreed for 415,000 people under the household benefit package. This will be given to recipients in quarterly installments of €25.

However, other unemployed people are also expected to get relief if they are already in receipt of the fuel allowance.

This allowance reaches a greater amount of vulnerable groups than the household benefit alone.

Ms Burton is expected to announce savings in her department due to a reduction in the numbers signing on.

These extra funds will be used for a special work dividend to help parents return to employment, as well as the water charge alleviation measures.

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