The surplus in the public finances this year is projected to be just over €4.4 billion, according to the Department of Finance.

Next year, the surplus is projected to reach almost €12bn but this is before any decisions are made in next week's Budget.

The figures are contained in the Budget White Paper that was published at midnight.

As recently as July, the Government had revised its forecasts from a deficit this year to a small surplus of around €1.2bn.

Record corporation tax receipts expected to finally come in at just over €21bn for 2022 boosted this turnaround in the public finances to deliver an expected surplus of €4.415bn.

Next year, the record corporation tax receipts are expected to continue boosting the projected surplus in 2023 to €11.78bn.

But these figures are where the public finances would end up if no decisions were taken on Budget Day next week. The widely anticipated significant increase in expenditure to counter the cost-of-living crisis will take a chunk out of the surplus figures.

The White Paper also reveals an increase in the cost of servicing the national debt, a reminder that times are changing for indebted governments.

In a statement last night, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said it is "appropriate to keep part of this surplus in reserve to respond to other challenges that may yet come".

The paper also reveals that if the portion of corporation tax deemed to be a "windfall" or not expected was removed, there would be a deficit this year of €4.5bn and next year's surplus would be just €1.78bn.

'Very significant' intervention by the Govt, says Varadkar

The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said people will see a "very significant" intervention by the Government to help people and their families and that the results would be in their pockets in a matter of weeks.

Speaking in Co Limerick this morning, he said that apart from one-off Budget measures there would be help throughout next year.

Regarding the 'windfall' corporation tax, Mr Donohoe said the Government was in a position now where it was collecting more money in taxes than it was currently spending and that the surplus recorded in the Budget White Paper was a valuable thing to have at a time when "risks are going up all the world".

"We're in really uncertain times and dealing with a crisis caused by a huge war in Europe and we cannot be sure how long it will go on for," said Mr Donohoe in Limerick.

"This is why we want to ensure we've the ability to respond back throughout 2023 if things gets more challenging or we have to deal with new risks. But measures being implemented this year will mean more money in people's pockets. We know they need it."

The Tánaiste and Minister for Finance were speaking at Thomand Park in Limerick where they were attending a Fine Gael Small Business and Enterprise conference.

"Small businesses employ more people in Ireland than the public sector and the multinationals combined and they employ people all over Ireland," said Mr Varadkar.

"I expect we'll hear a lot about the challenges in recruiting and retaining staff and the very high energy costs which threaten the viability of some businesses."

Mr Varadkar said he understands why people are protesting today as they see their incomes eroded.

Additional reporting: Teresa Mannion