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News / April 8, 2009

Tough budget focuses on raising revenues

by Guy Hiscott

As part of yesterday’s emergency Budget, workers’ health levy has been doubled to between 4% and 5%, depending on income, and the PRSI ceiling has been raised significantly so that staff will pay the charge on all income up to €75,036 compared to €52,000 at present.

These levies are in line with Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan’s focus on raising revenue rather than cutting spending.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, has said that measures associated with yesterday’s emergency Budget will make a significant contribution to addressing the financial pressures on the HSE.

Speaking following the announcement of the Supplementary Budget, Minister Harney stated: ‘My main aim in the next period is to sustain services to patients and to match key health priorities with available funding.’

The Minister confirmed that the HSE is facing a very difficult challenge in delivering its Service Plan within its approved allocation. She said she would be making decisions on the Service Plan within the next two weeks in relation to adjustments needed.

The HSE will also have to achieve further savings following the recent government decision in relation to a moratorium on public service employment and the voluntary early retirement arrangements.

The Minister went on to say that the existing economic and budgetary situation makes it more, not less, important to continue to press ahead with the various reform initiatives that are already underway across all services.