Measures being considered for inclusion in the Budget include a 7% cut in child benefit and a 100% increase in charges for prescription drugs, reports say.

Ministers discussed the health and social welfare aspects of the Budget at two Cabinet meetings yesterday.

According to reports, among the measures to emerge is a €10 a month cut in child benefit, reducing it from €140 to €130.

The 50 cent charge that medical card holders pay for medicines and other items they get on prescription from pharmacies will increase.

And non-means tested dole will only be paid for nine months instead of the current 12.

While the old age pension rate is believed to be safe, other benefits like the medical card, and telephone, electricity and TV allowances are still be decided upon.

The next in the series of Cabinet meetings dealing with next Wednesday's Budget is due to be held tomorrow evening.

Yesterday it emerged that the Cabinet is considering introducing a property tax based on 0.2% of the value of a home.

That would mean a property worth €175,000 would pay €300 annually and a home worth €275,000 would pay €550.

As the charge will come into effect in July, home owners will only be hit with half of the charge next year and a full levy in 2014.

It is expected that PAYE taxpayers would have the property tax deducted as a tax at source. This would allow for payments to be spread instead of paid in a lump sum.