Cowen's budget sets out to reward workers with an increase in tax credits, and a widening of the tax bands.

This is Brian Cowen’s third budget and the last before next year’s election. In his opening statement, Minister for Finance, Brian Cowen attributed the success of the Irish economy to the hard work of the Irish people.

Cowen’s budget sets out to reward this effort with an increase in tax credits, and a widening of the tax bands. Economic buoyancy enabled Cowen to reduce the top rate of tax from 42% to 41%, with a promise of a further reduction to 40% the following year if the coalition government is returned to office.

The budget also marked the achievement of the promise made by Fianna Fáil to increase the old-age pension to €200. Furthermore, with a €20 increase in the weekly rate of unemployment benefit, Mr. Cowen described the budget as the biggest support package for those on low incomes in the history of the state.