A new property tax, child benefit reductions and a €250 increase in the student contribution charge are among the headline measures outlined in today's Budget.

Property tax, which will take effect from July, will be payable on 0.18% of the market value of a property up to €1m.

The balance paid on any property worth in excess of that will be paid at a rate of 0.25%, according to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.

However, there will be a three-year exemption on the tax for first-time buyers.

Child benefit will be cut by €10 a month for the first two children, €18 for the third, and €20 for the fourth and subsequent children.

There will also be rises in DIRT, Capital Gains and Capital Acquisitions Tax, and the drug payment scheme threshold, according to the new measures.

New criteria will also be introduced for those aged over 70 in order to qualify for a medical card, with those on higher incomes eligible for a GP card only.

The duration of Jobseeker’s Benefit will also be reduced by three months.

Addressing the Dáil, the minister said the country is "well on the road to recovery".

"There are manifest signs that the country is emerging from the worst of the crisis and that the efforts of the Irish people, despite the hardship, are leading to success," he said.

Mr Noonan also announced details of reform of the PRSI system.

Under the new rules, PRSI will be payable on income generated from wealth such as rental income, investment income, dividends and interest on deposits and savings. The minimum annual level of PRSI payable by the self-employed also rises from €253 to €500.

Maternity benefit will be taxed, while excise duty goes up by 10 cent on a pint of beer, 10 cent on 20 cigarettes, and €1 on a bottle of wine from midnight.

Party leaders' allowances have been cut by 10%, while the parliamentary expenses system has been reformed. Reductions in garda overtime will also be implemented.

There will be no increase on excise duty on diesel and petrol while the Corporation Tax rate of 12.5% will be maintained. VAT will remain at 9%, while the Film Tax Relief Scheme has been extended to 2020.

Mr Noonan also announced a number of measures to assist the small and medium-sized business sector, including a rebate on diesel from July 2013 to assist hauliers.

Opposition decries 'unfair' measures

Responding to the Budget announcement, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty asked how Mr Noonan could be claiming to broaden the tax base, when time and time again, he went to the same people to pick their pockets.

Mr Doherty said child benefit was the one payment that was keeping families above the water-line

Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath said it was an inequitable budget, and low and middle income families, along with the elderly, were the worst hit by it.

He said that Labour had broken its election promises on child benefit and it would not be forgotten, while Fine Gael could not bring itself to tax those who earn over €100,000 a year.