Belfast Telegraph

Big stick and carrot feature heavily in the Republic's budget

By David Elliott

While the Irish Finance Minister implemented another hefty round of spending cuts and taxes in yesterday's budget, he also plans to introduce a number of stimulus measures to get the Irish economy back on its feet.

As the biggest export customer for Northern Ireland goods and services, that is good news.

Ann McGregor, chief executive of NI Chamber of Commerce said the Executive should take heed of one measure in particular.

"The announcement of subsidised financial training programmes for small businesses would be welcomed here."

The main changes in the Irish Budget are:

TAXES

* Special low tourism VAT rate to stay at 9%

* Capital Gains Tax and Capital Acquisitions Tax to increase

* DIRT tax on savings expected to go up from 33% to 41%

* Alcohol and cigarettes up

* Property tax to double next year, as announced

* Pension tax relief for high earners to be capped at €65,000 (£54,912)

* No change to income tax bands, rates and credits

* No change to 12.5% Corporation Tax

BANKING

* €200m (£168m) levy on all Irish banks

CONSTRUCTION

* Tax break for homeowners hiring registered builders for home improvements

* VAT back on home improvements costing between €5,000 (£4,224) and €30,000 (£25,344)

JOBS

* €200m (£168m) stimulus plan for capital projects

* Illness benefit claim to be extended out to the first six days

* €50,000 (£42,240) grant for best start up companies for young entrepreneurs under 25

* Local Enterprise Office fund up from €15m (£12.6m) to €18.5m (£15.6m)

* Incentives for domestic companies to take up research and development tax credits

* 50,000 jobs created next year

TRANSPORT

* Airport charges to be scrapped for certain airports

AGRICULTURE

* Grant scheme for beef calves

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