The Department of Finance completed a confidential study in recent days showing the jobs which will be lost from proposed cuts in the €7.3bn the government spends on building roads, schools, hospitals and on public transport projects.

The new study, called the 'Direct Labour-Intensity of Capital Projects', is the clearest evidence yet that capital spending, and the tens of thousands it supports, will suffer a disproportionate share of the €4bn in budget cuts planned for 2010.

Capital spending this year was slashed by 19% from €9bn in 2008, while current spending, consisting mostly of pay and pensions, in­creased 6% to over €55m.

Meanwhile, up to €1bn will be lopped from the €1.4bn spent on building and maintaining national roads because the National Roads Authority (NRA), which is due to complete about 11 major building projects in early 2010, will start almost no major projects over the next two years.