The Budget for 2018 has just been announced. It includes cuts in taxes, a drop in the rate of Universal Social Charge, an increase in minimum wage and a Sugar Tax to be implemented in April 2018.
1.83 billion will be allocated for housing in 2018.
The vacant site levy will double from 3% in the first year to 7% in second and subsequent years.
3,800 new social houses will be built by local authorities and approved housing bodies.
Funding for Homeless Services will be increased by a further €18M to over €115M.
The Housing Assistance Payment Scheme will increase by €149M in 2018.
4,000 extra social housing units are to be built in 2018.
There will be increase of €685m in allocation to the Department of Health, brings total funding to almost €15.3bn next year.
There will be an allocation of an additional 1,800 staff in frontline services across acute, mental health, disability, primary and community care sectors.
Prescription charges are to be reduced for everyone with a medical card under the age of 70 from €2.50 to €2 per item and the monthly cap for prescription charges decreased from €25 to €20.
There will be an additional 1,300 teaching posts, in an aim to reduce the primary pupil teacher ratio to 26:1.
There will be €1.7 billion invested in special education, with more than 1,000 new Special Needs Assistants being recruited in time for September 2018.
Rainy Day Fund
Minister Donohue proposed to establish a Rainy Day Fund in the coming year and, “transfer at least €1.5 billion to it from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to start it off.”
Universal Social Charge (USC) :
The 5 per cent rate of universal social charge, which applies on income between €18,800 and €70,000, will drop by 0.25 per cent.
The 2.5 percent rate, which is applied between €12,200 and €18,800, will drop by a half percentage point.
Social welfare payments:
Social welfare payments will all go up by €5, including the pension, dole and lone parents’ allowance.
Diesel and petrol:
There will be no changes in the price of diesel or petrol.
Cigarettes and Alcohol:
The cost of 20 cigarettes will increase by 50 cents but duties on alcohol will remain untouched.
The minimum wage is set to rise by 30c per hour to €9.55. While the move is likely to be welcomed by workers, the government is set to receive some backlash from the business sector particularly in light of Brexit.
An Additional 800 gardaí are to be recruited during 2018.
The rate of commercial stamp duty will increase by 4 per cent, from 2 to 6 percent. This is estimated to bring in around an extra €400 million.
There will be a tax at a rate of 30 cent per litre on drinks with over 8 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres.