Budget 2022: At A Glance

65
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

THE GOVERNMENT HAS unveiled its Budget for 2021, announcing how it plans to spend a €4.7 billion package.

Here is a highlight of some of the main points (adapted from The Journal.ie)

WELFARE

  • The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is to remain in place until the end of February.
  • An increase of €5 in the main weekly welfare payments.
  • Weekly pension payments will also increase by €5.
  • The Living Alone Allowance (for those on pensions) will increase by €3 per week.
  • Parents Benefit is to be increased by two weeks to seven weeks from July 2022.
  • The Back to School Allowance will be increased by €10.
  • Fuel Allowance payments are set to rise by €5 per week – this kicks in from tonight.
  • The full Christmas bonus will be paid to welfare recipients.

TAX AND INCOME

  • Each of the personal tax credits, employee tax credits and income tax credits will be increased by €50.
  • The ceiling of second USC rate band to is to be increased from €20,687 to €21,295.
  • The national minimum wage will increase by 30 cents to €10.50 per hour.
  • The reduced VAT rate of 9% for hospitality businesses will remain in place until the end of August next year.
  • There will be an income tax deduction amounting to 30% of the cost of vouched expenses for electricity, heating and broadband in respect of those costs incurred while working from home.
  • There will be no increased excise duty on alcohol and there will be a 50 cent excise relief for independent small producers of cider and other fermented drinks.
  • Excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes will increase by 50 cent.

HOUSING

  • A zoned land tax is to be introduced to encourage the use of land for building homes.
  • An additional 14,000 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) tenancies will be delivered. 
  • Relief for pre-listing expenses for landlords will be extended for another three years to encourage landlords to return empty properties to the market as quickly as possible.
  • As previously announced by the government, some 9,000 new build social housing units will be delivered next year as well as over 4,000 affordable homes. 

CLIMATE CHANGE

  • The carbon tax will be increased by another €7.50 this year to €41 per tonne.
  • A tax disregard in respect of personal income received by households that sell surplus electricity that they generate back to the grid.
  • An extension of the €5,000 vehicle registration tax relief for battery electric vehicles to the end of 2023.

HEALTH

  • Funding of €500 million for Covid measures such as testing/tracing and vaccination.
  • Free GP care is to be extended to children aged six and seven. 
  • The threshold for the drugs payment scheme has been lowered, meaning the maximum someone will pay for approved prescribed drugs will be €100.
  • Access to free contraception for women aged 17-25 from next August. 
  • 19 additional critical care beds will be funded next year. 
  • €105 million for disability services, including supports for school leavers and those inappropriately living in nursing homes. 
  • €37 million for the expansion of mental health services

 TRANSPORT

  • For those aged 19-23 the cost of public transport is to be halved – this will be rolled out from the middle of 2022 with a new Youth Travel Card.
  • €360 million is being provided for active travel and greenways. 
  • €60 million in funding for the aviation sector to provide capital and operational grant schemes as well as supports for regional public service obligation services.
  • €108 million in maritime funding, including spending on safety training, equipment and systems for the Irish Coast Guard.

EDUCATION

  • Funding for 980 additional teachers and 1,165 SNAs.
  • A reduction in class sizes.
  • €4 million to extend the hot school meals programme.
  • Additional administrative principals in special schools and mainstream schools with two or more special classes. 
  • The Susi maintenance grant for higher educations students will be increased by €200.

POLICING

  • Funding for an additional 800 gardaí and 400 Garda civilian staff will be provided. 
  • €6.7 million will be available to the Youth Justice Strategy to support the development of early interventions. 
  • A funding package will be provided to extend legal aid for victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.