Exchequer returns for November show Government revenue running slightly ahead of target, with spending more than 2% below target.

Income tax recorded a year-on-year increase of €607 million (4.4%). This is consistent with last week's CSO figures which showed an increase in employment over the same period.

There is also an underspend of €182 million, or 1.5%, in the social welfare budget, linked to a fall in the numbers on the Live Register.

Overall the tax take is €214 million - or 0.6% - ahead of target for November, the most important month for tax returns and the month that Budget planning has traditionally been based on.

Compared with November 2012, revenues are up €1.4 billion (4.2%).

Spending - excluding interest payments - is also under control, and is €844 million lower than target.  Compared with November 2012, spending is down €1.8 billion (4.4%).

The October Budget boosted revenues from excise, which was 22% higher than the target set at the start of the year.  

Year-on-year excise receipts are 6.8% higher.

November also sees the payments of VAT collected in September and October, and they were €80 million (5.2%) ahead of target. 

VAT reciepts for the year are now running €102 million (1%) behind target after eleven months, an improvement following a weak first half of the year.

Corporation tax receipts of €1.17 billion were 1.5% below the November target, but for the the eleven months to date the tax is 5.8% ahead of target, and 3.5% higher year-on-year.

Local property tax brought in €72 million on November, bringing the total collected for the year to the end of the month to €287 million.

This is 37% higher than the original target of €209 million.

Overall voted spending by departments is running 2.1% below target for the year to date - a running total of €84 million.  

This is made up of an underspend of €469 million (1.3%) on current spending, and a €375 million underspend on capital - a huge 14.5% below target.

Year-on-year spending is down 4.4% or €1.8 billion.  

Most of that - €1.58 billion (4.1%) - is on the current spending side, while capital spending is running €227 million or 9.3% lower than a year ago.

The department of health continues to show an overspend of €171 million (1.5%) on current spending, somewhat offset by a €76 million (22%) underspend on capital, leaving the overall spend running €95 million (0.8%) higher than target.

As well as the €186 million underspend in Social Welfare, there is a €192 million underspend ( 21%) in the Environment, Community and Local Government vote.

Most of that  - €164 million - coming in the form of underspent capital budget, which is running 33% below target.

The Exchequer deficit for the eleven months to the end of November was €8.6 billion, which is an improvement of €4.4 billion compared with he first eleven months of 2012.

The cost of servicing the national debt was €7.5 billion to the end of November.

This was €1 billion or 16% higher than the same period last year, reflecting the increased size of the national debt.