VIDEO: Mary Regan looks ahead to this afternoon's budget

As the Government prepares to unveil the latest austerity budget, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has insisted the main focus of this year’s budget is to exit the bailout programme and provide incentives for job creation.

VIDEO: Mary Regan looks ahead to this afternoon's budget

Finance Minister Michael Noonan will be first to speak when he unveils the taxation measures, followed by Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin who will set out the cuts in public expenditure.

With a combined €2.5bn readjustment needed, pensioners and those in receipt of social welfare payments are amongst those rumoured to be hit by the measures.

Other speculated budget measures include:

* Scrapping of the monthly telephone allowance of €9.50 for pensioners

* An increase in prescription charges from €1.50 to €2.50.

* A rise from 33% to 41% in Dirt tax – the tax paid on interest earned in bank accounts

* Reduction in jobseekers’ payments to €100 for new entrants under 25 — those aged 25 getting €144. Age requirement for full rate of €188 to be increased to 26

* Scrapping of the mortgage interest supplement for new entrants from January — with the scheme phasing out over four years

* One in 10 pensioners over 70 to lose their full medical card and get a GP-only card instead – to be determined by income

* Scrapping of bereavement grant – funds to help cover funeral costs worth €850 to families of the deceased

* Between 170 and 200 million euro in cuts in the Department of the Environment – mainly in housing

* Cuts across the Department of Education to fund the introduction of the rent-a-book scheme in primary schools

* Introduction of a new bank levy worth 200 million to the Exchequer

* Pupil-teacher ratio will remain untouched

* Free GP care to all under-fives.

The Irish Examiner’s Deputy Political Editor Mary Regan takes a look at some of the measures today’s budget is likely to contain:

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