What we can expect on Budget Day

What we can expect on Budget Day

Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe at the Department of Finance with Budget 2023. Picture: Moya Nolan

The printing presses for Budget 2023 will kick into life at 3am on Tuesday morning after ministers Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath signed off on their €10bn package on Monday.

Budget day is one of those important set-pieces in the political calendar, filled with fanfare, rumours, and intense pressure on journalists to get the last tidbits on giveaways and cuts before they are announced in the Dáil chamber.

For the first time in three years, the budget will be presented in a full chamber in Leinster House and not the Convention Centre.

We will be hearing plenty about the billions upon billions of euro that will be spent. Budget 2023 is set to be the largest in the history of the State.

For perhaps the last time, we will have Paschal Donohoe announcing the finance side of things and then Michael McGrath making the public expenditure elements known. They will take to their feet at 1pm.

Mr Donohoe and Mr McGrath will have 45 minutes each to deliver their speeches.

These budget statements outline the general economic and fiscal outlook and the changes the Government proposes to make to taxes and spending.

Once the ministers conclude, the main opposition leaders then pile in to usually criticise as much of the plan as possible, with reaction from them taking proceedings right up to 8pm before the Dáil takes a sos — that's a break as Gaeilge, but by that stage we may all be in need of saving.

While the opposition are speaking, away from the main action, ministers and their department officials will begin providing sectoral briefings to journalists.

These briefings, which drill down into the headlines announced in the two main budget speeches, are held in the various departments as well as the Italian Room and press centre in Government Buildings.

From 8.30pm onward, TDs will vote on any financial measures, such as increasing Vat on cigarettes and other usual suspects, that must pass by midnight. While no increase to the price of alcohol is expected as part of tomorrow's budget, an extra 50c on a 20-pack of cigarettes has been flagged.

The Dáil is not due to adjourn until 12.30am, so it will be a long day for all involved, with the Dáil bar expected to do brisk business throughout the evening.

Budget day really only begins the process of tax changes, new supports, and financial allocations as many of the measures that will be announced, such as the Finance Bill and Social Protection Bill, will take months to pass.

However, many of the cost-of-living measures are due to kick in within a matter of weeks.


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