July 16, 2017 / 10:48 AM / a year ago

Ireland to slightly increase budget space for 2018 - Varadkar

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland will be able to modestly increase the 300 million euros (262.56 million pounds) currently available to cut tax and increase spending in 2018 when the government introduces its budget in October, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Ireland's Leo Varadkar arrives at a EU leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Julien Warnand/Pool

Ireland has limited room to stimulate its booming economy next year as it seeks to balance its budget for the first time in a decade and having already pre-committed a significant chunk of funds, include in a new public sector pay deal agreed in May.

“It’s going to be tight. Any spending increases and tax cuts are going to be modest. But it’ll be more than 300 million euros,” Varadkar told the Sunday Independent in an interview.

“For example, if unemployment continues to fall, and we anticipate it will, there will be savings in jobseekers’ allowance. There’s also the possibility of revenue-raising measures. It’s pretty normal in budgets now to put 10 or 20 or even 50 cents on cigarettes and that brings in revenue too.”

Reporting by Padraic Halpin, editing by Louise Heavens

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