3.45pm: Budget Speech
Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan is scheduled to begin his budget speech at 3.45pm today, after questions to Minister for Enterprise Mary Coughlan have concluded. If the speech follows the normal template it will begin with an overview of the economic outlook, the financial position of the exchequer and broad targets for the year ahead. Public spending and social welfare changes usually come in the first half of the speech, with tax changes towards the end.
With significant cuts in public service pay and social welfare expected to form the centrepiece, key measures are expected 15 minutes or so into the speech.
Changes in income tax and VAT and excise usually come later but these are expected to be minimal. In his previous budgets Mr Lenihan spoke for less than an hour. Given the momentous nature of changes expected, he may take a bit longer.