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Lenihan in firing line in UK cuts

Britain's shadow chancellor has appeared to take a swipe at Finance Minister Brian Lenihan during the House of Commons debate on swingeing spending cutbacks in the UK.

Labour's Alan Johnson dismissed UK Chancellor George Osborne's claims he had international backing for budget cuts, stating Ireland received similar support before the crippled economy shrunk again.

To laughter in the chamber, Mr Johnson said: "That was the Irish minister of finance last autumn, when he told the Irish parliament that his austerity plan means that they have turned the corner and four months later they slid back into recession."

Mr Osborne unveiled his long-awaited comprehensive spending review by taking a £7 billion chunk (7.9 billion euro) out of the welfare budget.

The Chancellor said that Government departments would face cuts over the next four years as the Government acted to pull the country back from the brink of bankruptcy.

The draconian measures in the UK came as Taoiseach Brian Cowen met Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Labour chief Eamon Gilmore over consensus on a four-year budget road map.

The UK savings include the axing of child benefit for higher rate taxpayers - a move highlighted by the Government here as a potential money-raising exercise.

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph