Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has said he will take remedial steps to reduce Government spending after the latest Exchequer figures revealed a very sharp deterioration in the public finances.

The figures show that the shortfall for this year is now set to exceed €8bn, which is almost €2bn more than the Government expected just eight weeks ago.

Fine Gael's Finance spokesman, Richard Bruton, accused the Government of rushing the Budget and of making a bad economic situation much worse.

According to the Exchequer figures there has been a massive shortfall of close to €7.5bn in the amount of taxes collected by the Government during the first 11 months of the year.

This is a far bigger shortfall than was predicted. Analysts now expect the tax shortfall for 2008 to exceed €8bn.

November is the most important month in the tax collection calendar for the Government.

It includes all self-accessed taxes as well as a larger proportion of corporation and capital gains taxes due for the year.