Editorial: Worse pain on way for all taxpayers

The December 7 Budget threatens to be one of the most draconian ever. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan now says that the promised €3bn cuts are a "minimum figure" and there is scope for the Government to increase it.

Mr Lenihan, with just 12 weeks to finalise his Budget, insists that no decision has been taken about that.

His comments, at a Fianna Fail parliamentary party meeting, are being interpreted as an effort to stiffen the resolve of the "troops" and as a grim forecast for the taxpayer.

Already swingeing cuts in infrastructure have been listed, with more to be identified in day-to-day spending and tax hikes.

With the massive bail-out of Anglo, there are doubts about Ireland's ability to cut its budget deficit to its targeted 3pc of GDP by 2014.

Meanwhile, the long-suffering taxpayer, labouring under levies and hidden charges, is wondering: where will the axe fall?