BUSINESS HOPES TO SEE NO EXTRA COSTS IN TODAY'S BUDGET - The Cabinet is to meet today to discuss Budget 2014, which will be unveiled in the Dáil this afternoon at 2.30pm. The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, will deliver the taxation measures and he will be followed by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, who will outline the spending cuts.

David Kelly, manager of the new Tap House bar in Ranelagh in Dublin city - which opens today - says that the Irish economy is at a turning point and he believes it is the right opportunity to invest in an business here. He said that he wanted to open a bar that adds to the area by offering something a little different and that Irish consumers have an appetite for different types of product. Mr Kelly says that entry costs in Ireland are now realistic and he hopes that costs on business will not be increased in today's Budget.

Frank Conway, of The Irish Financial Review, says that some Irish consumers are still finding things very difficult due to high mortgages and childcare costs, but the population that the new Tap Hous Bar is targetting - 25 to 35 year olds - do still have to money to spend. He says the 9% VAT rate in the hospitality sector is very important and he echoed the call the retain it in today's Budget. He says this would ensure that the good momentum built up during the year on the back of such events as The Gathering would continue.

On the expected new bank levy, which is due to bring in €150m a year, Mr Conway says that ultimately the cost of the levy will be passed on to customers, noting that the fee paying side of banking is increasing all the time.


MORNING BRIEFS - An interim management statement from Independent News and Media - outlining its year-on-year performance for the 41 weeks to October 11 - said there has been a noticeable improvement in advertising revenue since the beginning of June. The rate of decline in newspaper ad revenues slowed to 8.1%, compared to a decline of 14.6% in the first 6 months of the year. Online revenues increased by 18.2%, resulting in 11.9% growth year to date. Circulation revenues were broadly unchanged with revenue reducing 5.1% in the period since July 1.

INM's statement said the Irish economy still has challenges ahead, but that consumer sentiment has improved, property prices are showing signs of stabilisation and forecasts indicate Irish economic growth next year and beyond.

*** 690 million people visited an Ikea store in the year to August. The privately owned firm, famous for its flat-pack furniture sold from big warehouses, now has 303 stores globally. According to its financial results, the furniture giant saw a rise in full-year sales and says it managed to gain market share in nearly all its markets. Global sales jumped 3.1% to €27.9 billion in the 12 months to the end of August, and like-for-like sales - which strip out the impact of new stores - rose 1.8% in the same period. The chain, which is the world's largest furniture retailer, has said it wants to double sales to €50 billion by 2020. Ikea, which has its headquarters in Sweden, said some of the strongest growth was in Russia and China, and that it had also made significant progress in North America during the year. Its statement said, though, that southern Europe continues to be affected by the current economic situation.