It's B-Day!

It's budget day with the government to announce spending for next year in the Dáil this lunchtime.

It will be a mix of modest tax cuts and increased spending with a focus on housing, health and social welfare.

Despite the government insisting this isn't a giveaway budget there is a feeling of an election looming over today's announcement.


There's a number of measures aimed at tackling the so-called squeezed middle - with a large increase in the amount of people eligible for the affordable childcare allowance, cuts to the Universal Social Charge and the raising of the entry point for paying the higher rate of tax.

There will be a 300 million euro affordable housing scheme and significant tax relief measures for landlords.

There will also be a significant increase in the health budget with free GP cards extended to 100,000 extra people.

While social welfare and pension payments are expected to rise across the board by 5 euro a week and there will be an extra two week's parental leave from the end of next year.

To pay for this there's some revenue raising measures, the special 9% VAT rate for much of the tourism sector will end - being raised to 13.5 per cent.

It's understood a proposed carbon tax was dropped yesterday though diesel cars may be hit by an increase in VRT.

A pack of 20 cigarettes will also be 50 cent dearer by the end of the day.

Politicians will be scrambling to claim credit for parts of this budget which in this era of new politics is a baby with many fathers.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will reveal his plan at 1pm.

Reporting by Sean Defoe