The Irish budget yesterday was a tough budget. The type of budget that in reality Britain needs to implement to get the economy back on track. Welfare cuts and tax hikes are never popular moves. Brian Lenihan, the finance minister, said right at the beginning of his speech
… before we ask anyone else to give, we in this House and in this Government must examine our own costs. Those of us in politics have been entrusted with a great privilege by the people. We must lead by example.
Irish politicians rightly feel they need to share the pain – pensions for serving politicians are to be discontinued and allowable expenses cut by 10% across the board. The Irish President Mary McAleese has already announced that she will be taking a 10% pay cut in light of the current budgetary troubles. The finance Minister Brian Lenihan and his ministerial colleagues took a 10% wage cut last year. The opposition leader has instructed his party’s parliamentarians to take a 5% cut. The governor of the Irish Central Bank and Financial Services Authority has volunteered to also surrender 10% of pay. The state broadcaster RTÉ’s top six executives are taking a “significant reduction” in pay.
In contrast last week British MPs accepted a 2.33% pay rise…