Belfast Telegraph

The main tax and spending changes

Here are some of the main changes to Ireland tax and spending for next year as Taoiseach Enda Kenny claimed the Government's aim was to exit the bailout and create jobs.

Among the incentives are efforts to cut down on the black economy, cut dole payments for under-25s and keep tourism related business on lower VAT rates.

Mr Kenny said it was a budget for the future of Ireland and for the Irish people.

:: No increases in income tax or the Universal Social Charge, or excise duty on petrol diesel or on home heating oil and gas, or the three special VAT rates of 9%, 13.5% or 23%.

:: A packet of cigarettes is up 10 cents to about 9.50 euro for the premium brands from midnight.

:: At the same time a pint of beer or cider and a measure of spirits is up by 10 cents.

:: And a bottle of wine is to increase by 50 cents - a 1.50 euro increase since 2012.

:: Savers suffer as the Dirt tax - paid on the interest earned on bank accounts - increases from 33% to 41%.

:: A new home renovation incentive is being launched - tax relief for refurbishing a house over the next two years.

:: Free GP care to all under-fives.

:: New levy on domestic banks to force them to contribute 150 million euro to the State.

:: The air travel tax - roundly attacked by the aviation industry and airlines - will end in April next year.

:: The special 9% VAT rate for tourism business is to be retained.

:: All lump sum payments to survivors of the Magdalene laundries are to be tax exempt.

:: One-parent family tax credit to be replaced with a new single person child carer tax credit - it will be to the same value but available to only the principal carer of a child.

On the spending and benefits side of the equation, Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, was left to find more than 1.6 billion euro.

Among the initiatives are

:: While GPs will see youngsters without charge in a 37m euro package, prescription charges rise to 2.50 euro - with a 23 euro cap

:: All private patients to be charged in public hospitals.

:: There will be a review of all medical cards to remove ineligible and redundant cards and the continued generic substitution of drugs.

:: Income threshold for over-70s for medical cards will be lowered - 900 euro per week for a couple and 500 euro for a single person.

:: Dole payments for 22-24-year-olds will fall from 144 euro to 100 euro a week and 25-year-olds will get 144 euro.

:: While the pupil-teacher ratio remains the same more than 1,250 new classroom and resource teachers will be recruited.

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