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VAT and income tax up

The Government's finances are well ahead of target with both income tax and VAT receipts better than expected.

Exchequer returns for July show the amount of money taken in via income tax so far this year is €54m better than hoped, while VAT is €242m ahead of target.

Overall, the tax take is 2.5pc or €548m higher than expected so far this year. This will further boost hopes of a softer budget in October. Spending is also lower.