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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.