Belfast Telegraph

Budget targets 'remain on track'

Budget targets remain on track despite the country being 10 billion euro in the red, the Government has said.

Latest exchequer figures show 17.2 billion euro in taxes were collected in the first seven months of the year - 1.4% below target.

Separate figures revealed the economy shrunk 7.6% last year.

Fine Gael claimed the country had suffered the longest and deepest recession of any advanced economy in the world.

Richard Bruton, enterprise spokesman, said the rate of economic decline was five times worse than the average fall suffered by advanced countries.

He accused the Government of not having a plan to get people back to work.

"Despite all the evidence and the conclusions of the recent banking reports, some Government ministers continue to pretend that Ireland's problems were caused by outside forces, when the truth is that Ireland and its people have been the victims of catastrophic economic mismanagement," Mr Bruton said.

The exchequer deficit at the end of July was 10.2 billion euro, down from the 16.4 billion euro recorded at the same period last year.

Just under 17.2 billion euro in tax receipts were collected in the first seven months of the year - 247 million euro or 1.4% below target.

But the Department of Finance said the Budget day forecast for tax revenues of 31 billion euro in 2010 could be achieved, but warned there were still significant targets to be tackled in the months ahead.

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