A general Government deficit for this year of €13.2 billion is set out in the White Paper published last night by the Department of Finance.

The White Paper sets out the position of the public finances this year and next before any spending or taxing decisions are made on Budget Day.

Its publication on the weekend prior to the Budget is required under the Constitution.

The paper shows that an extra €3.8 billion in tax revenue is expected to be collected from higher than forecast income tax receipts, VAT receipts and a record €13.53 billion in corporation tax – some €1.5 billion higher than expected.

Current spending is shown to come in under budget by approximately €3 billion, although this is not broken down by department and may include some temporary Covid-19 allocations.

This has led to a dramatic reduction in the forecast deficit for this year from just over €20 billion or 9.4% of modified gross national income to €13.165 billion or 5.9% of modified gross national income.

This means while the Government will still be borrowing to balance the books this year, it will be borrowing a lot less than planned.