Any permanent concession in the budget will have to be sustainable in the future, Finance Minister Pascal Donohoe has said, indicating new subsidies for energy bills.
Mr Donohoe warned that the temporary steps could be removed in the future.
“I think the government has clearly demonstrated during the pandemic that all the measures we have said will be temporary, have ended now,” he said.
“So as soon as we are in a position to see lower energy prices, I am confident that the government will act to change the measures that are there.”
He also strongly suggested that the government would reduce the tax burden on workers in the budget, especially at the marginal tax rate.
He added: “We need to help workers, so that if they get a pay raise to help them with the rising cost of living, they have the opportunity to keep the majority of their earnings.”
In a sign to the public not to expect subsidies to continue when energy prices inevitably fall, Mr Donohoe said: “Whatever decisions we make now, we have to stand still when circumstances change in the future. Should be able to.
“When you look at the Summer Economic Statement this afternoon, you’ll see a clear breakdown of the measures we’ve brought in that are permanent and those that are temporary.”
Mr Donohoe did not provide any specifics about the statement to be unveiled later today.
But he added: “This afternoon we will be justified, because we will be able to show the resources available to the country for next year, and how the government will be able to agree on a cost of living package.”
This will “make a difference to the pressures we know are facing so many families at the moment”.
“We really appreciate that with the rising cost of fuel and food, so many wallets and wallets are really feeling the impact of rising prices.
“But it is a challenge that is going to stay with us for many months. It will be with us next year.
“And because of that, the most effective and most appropriate way to deal with it is to budget.”
He said the Summer Economic Statement would show available resources.
“We are very conscious that whatever decisions we take now, we should be able to stand still when circumstances change in the future. And I think that will be a guiding principle for the government.
Mr Donohoe insisted there is “an environment in which wages are rising”, although many private workers may beg to differ.
He added: “We also believe that we currently have measures in place from a taxation point of view to reduce prices on expensive fuels.”