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Finance Minister Michael McGrath. Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie
Department of Finance

Public finance surplus of over €9.6 billion projected for this year

The figure was contained in the Department of Finance’s White Paper.

WITH DAYS TO go until Budget 2024, new figures have shown that the surplus in public finances this year will be €9.620 billion.

The Department of Finance’s annual White Paper, published ahead of the budget every year, shows that Ireland’s finances remain in good health, despite being below projections made earlier this year. 

Looking ahead to next year, the surplus is projected to reach €12.535 billion. 

According to the paper, corporation tax receipts are expected to come in at €23.5 billion for this year, compared to an expected €24.3 billion.

This comes after it was announced that corporation tax in September came in below the Department’s estimate for a second consecutive month, with €14.4 billion collected in the first nine months of the year. 

The Finance and Public Expenditure Ministers previously said they had €6.5 billion to play with in the budget, however in a statement he said he will unveil a plan on Tuesday setting out what the Government intends to do with the projected surpluses for the years ahead.

McGrath has been under pressure to dampen expectations as to how much can be spent on addressing the cost-of-living crisis being felt by people across the country.

Much of what is expected to be announced on Tuesday has already been leaked, with all eyes set to be on the controversial Universal Social Charge (USC) after Tánaiste Micheál Martin confirmed that cuts are to form part of this year’s budget.

Last year the ceiling of the second USC rate band increased from €21,295 to €22,920 to “support those on minimum wage” but this year it could be the case of widening out the 2% band to move in line with an expected increase in the minimum wage next year. 

The renters’ tax credit of €500 for tenants who are paying rent in respect of their principal private residence is also set to increase, though perhaps not to the €1,000 which was first mooted. The credit is likely to increase to just under €800.

However, one promise that is being rolled back on this year is the promised 25% reduction in weekly childcare fees.

Last year’s announcement was worth up to €175 per month or €2,106 per year for parents, and while it had been widely expected that the October budget would deliver a further reduction in fees, uncertainty surfaced within government over whether such a reduction could be achieved. 

Tánaiste Micheál Martin also cast further doubt on the prospect of further 25% reduction at Leaders’ Questions on Thursday, when he failed to confirm that the measure would be included and simply stated that “budget negotiations are underway”. 

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