Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said due to instability in a number of European countries and uncertainty over the result of the US Presidential election, it is time for a cautious Budget.

Speaking to RTÉ News Mr Noonan said: “A lot has changed since the springtime. We've had Brexit, there's a lot of instability in key European countries.

“We have the US Presidential election with so far an unforeseeable result. So it is certainly the time for a cautious budget, I'm going to take no chances.”

The minister added that the “opening position” for the Budget is that around two thirds of available fiscal space will be used for expenditure, while the remaining third will go towards “the tax side”.

He said: “Changing tax to relieve the burden on tax payers is important as well. There are over two million people now at work - they carry the economy on their shoulders.

"They'll benefit from the improved services but we want to do something on the tax side as well.”

Mr Noonan suggested there will be extra money for improving public services, and “there'll be some money but less than what's available for expenditure to reduce taxes somewhat - specifically Universal Social Charge, and specifically for low and middle income families."

On Brexit, the minister said “we can accommodate the initial shock” but “it is not the time for taking chances, by going beyond what we have already stated in the Programme for Government.”

He said the Budget will be built around the commitments in the Programme for Government.