A subsidised childcare package for low-income families was signed off by ministers Paschal Donohoe and Katherine Zappone last night.

Ms Zappone was said to be “extremely happy” with the package, which is set to benefit families with a net income of up to €47,000.

She had pressed for subsidised childcare to be prioritised for lower-income families, while Fine Gael TDs had sought to include “squeezed” middle-income families on up to €55,000.

The Irish Examiner has learned the details of what level the package will apply to remains to be finalised.

It comes amid speculation that the proposed tax-break for first-time buyers, which was due to be up to €15,000, could now be closer to €20,000, as negotiations between Public Expenditure Minister Mr Donohoe and Housing Minister Simon Coveney continue.

A spokeswoman for Mr Coveney said she was not aware of where the €20,000 figure came from, but it was understood a figure greater than €15,000 was now accepted.

Meanwhile, tax breaks for landlords will feature as part of next week’s budget.

The measure, to which the Government is agreeable, would allow property tax become a deductible expense in calculating a landlord’s taxable rental income.

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