Latest: Taoiseach promises 'more teachers, more doctors, more nurses, more gardaí' in Budget

Latest: Taoiseach promises 'more teachers, more doctors, more nurses, more gardaí' in Budget

Update 10.09am: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has been speaking about some of the measures contained in today's Budget.

He said that today would see the "biggest education budget ever", saying that it would lead to "more teachers, more doctors, more nurses, more gardaí".

He also revealed that there would be a "very significant increase in spending on infrastructure, with big increases for housing and transport in particular".

Mr Varadkar claimed that the changes in the Budget will benefit an average family by between €500-600 per year.

Measures such as a lowering of USC rates, changes to tax bands and reductions in the cost of prescription medicines are widely expected.

Separately, Children's Minister Katherine Zappone said that 20,000 more children will be given free childcare.

Update 9.26am: Leo Varadkar has said this morning that there will be "no fireworks, no big bonanza" in the upcoming Budget.

The Taoiseach said that it aims to give a little to a lot of people.

"It should put some more money back in the pockets of taxpayers, working people, families, pensioners, people on welfare, and also some measures to reduce the cost of living, particularly in relation to childcare and prescription medications," he said.

"So it's a good Budget overall. There's no fireworks, no big bonanza, but it is another small, sustainable step in the right direction for our country.

"And everything else will be announced by Paschal at one o'clock."

Update 8.37am: Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said this morning that his Budget will lay the foundations for a fairer and more resilient Ireland.

He said that measures in his Budget, set to be announced this afternoon, will be aimed at "making sure that we have a broadly balanced budget next year, making sure that we sustainably invest in how we can reduce taxation, in how we can improve the funding of our public services.

"And then making long-term investments in our hospitals, our schools, our public transport - they are the foundations for more resilient, a fairer Ireland."

He added later: "We need to invest more in that which will make a big difference to our country responding back to the challenges of Brexit, and giving every citizen in our State the opportunity to be all they can be.

And we'll be announcing plans today in relation to capital investment that will bring that future a bit closer."

Earlier:

The Government will today unveil a Budget with additional tax and spending measures worth about a €1bn.

Following last-minute talks with the king-makers on opposition benches, the country can expect modest cuts to income tax, initiatives to ease the unprecedented housing and homelessness crisis and modest welfare rises.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe's first Budget in the Fine Gael Government is a delicate balancing act as he is reliant on the support of Fianna Fáil to get it through.

It is the second year that those in power will have negotiated with their traditional political rivals, leaving few surprises to announce on the day.

And much like last year, the critics on the Opposition benches will be watching closely to see how well the Government has thought to Brexit-proof Ireland's economy.

Among the flagged reforms are an easing of the tax burden on average working families.

The so-called "squeezed middle" will be closely counting cuts to income tax and the deeply unpopular Universal Social Charge, which hits the pay packets of all but the lowest earners.

There are some suggestions that a modest payback - up to 0.5% on the two middle bands of the rate - could return about €250 to annual salaries.

Income tax bands are also being tweaked with workers set to pay the top rate of tax on wages above €34,500, compared to €33,800 as it is now.

Older people should also enjoy some improvements. Five euro is due to go on the old age pension, and a bereavement grant, which helped covered the cost of a funeral until it was abolished a few years ago, is also expected to return.

Prescription charges are likely to be cut and dole and other welfare benefits are likely to see a Christmas bonus this year.

There will also be a package of measures to improve the lives of carers and people with disabilities to ensure Ireland lives up to commitments under a UN rights charter.

A huge chunk of the money available to Minister Donohoe will come from hikes in stamp duty on commercial property deals.

It is currently at 2% and every percentage increase is set to yield about €100m.

Tax incentives for corporations to lodge intellectual property rights in Ireland will be reduced to bring in about €150m.

A sugar tax is also on the menu.

It will target sweetened drinks specifically and is forecast to make up to €40m, and it will be timed to coincide with the UK's levy.

Latest: Taoiseach promises 'more teachers, more doctors, more nurses, more gardaí' in Budget

A question mark remained at the 11th hour on whether a reformed betting tax was over the line and whether the funds raised could be ring-fenced.

Land owners who hoard development sites as they wait for prices to climb can also expect to be penalised under a new and long-awaited tax.

It is due to be included in a package to alleviate the housing and homelessness crisis.

More than 8,000 people have been forced to live in emergency accommodation such as hotels and B&Bs after losing their homes, while social housing waiting lists have soared to about 90,000 families.

The old reliables rarely get away untouched.

Smokers can expect to be hurt in the pocket again, with Ireland second only to Norway for the most expensive tobacco in Europe.

Alcohol went untouched last year and there is little to suggest it will be treated any differently this year.

Other duty and taxes on everyday life will also be closely watched, including changes to excise on diesel and home heating fuel.

But the green lobby will also be looking on to see if this Minister goes further than predecessors by trying to encourage micro-generation and waste reduction levies.

Mr Donohoe will deliver his Budget in the Dáil at lunchtime, and in doing so he becomes the first Minister since the worst years of Ireland's recession to get the limelight all to himself.

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