Exchequer returns for the first half of the year show the Government tax-take and spending plans are in line with Budget forecasts.

Revenues are 0.7% below expectations, while spending is 1.7% below target.

The budget deficit is €10.8bn.

The figures from the Department of Finance show that the total tax receipts for the first six months of this year were €15.279bn. That was 0.7% (€115m) below the Government's target.

Income tax receipts for June were up 21.5% compared to the same month last year, reflecting the impact of the Universal Social Charge.

Corporation tax is down 11.6% year-on-year however, and 7.6% (€116m) below expectations.

VAT receipts are down 0.9% year-on-year and performing 2.6% below expectations.

The deficit in the first six months of the year stands at €10.8bn compared to €8.9bn in June 2010.

The increase has been caused by the injection of €3bn into Anglo Irish Bank, INBS and EBS.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the Exchequer deficit was in line with his Department's expectations at this point in the year.

He welcomed the fact that targets set as part of the joint European Union/International Monetary Fund loan programme were also met.

Minister Noonan said the Government, the EU and IMF will now begin to look at plans for next year.

Mr Noonan added: 'Corporation Tax and VAT were a little weaker than expected.

'On a more encouraging note, income tax is in line with what is a very large target due to the introduction of the Universal Social Charge and other budget measures.

'Receipts from excise duties have continued the good performance of last year into the first half of 2011.

'Although there is some weakness in certain tax-heads, the Budget day target for tax revenue in 2011 of €34.9bn remains achievable.'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the figures pointed up the requirement of having an opportunity to stimulate the indigenous economy.