#Budget2019 Anything In It For You?

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Budget 2019. How was it for you? Any morsels? Can it be described as anything other than conservative? Or do you see advantages and some positives?

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe announced spending plans totalling €66.5 billion, as he committed to running surpluses if revenues allow.

He said economic growth in excess of 7% is now expected while forecasts for next year is also expected to increase. €59.3bn will be spent on current expenditure and €7.3bn on Capital spending.

TAXATION:

Those who are on the highest rate of income tax and universal social charge will save more than €1,000 as part of tax changes.

However, in a deeply controversial move, no carbon tax initiatives will be included in budget 2019.

In the budget tax details revealed this afternoon:

  1. * the 4.75% USC rate will drop to 4.5% from January 1, saving a person €502. This move will cost the State €123m
  2. * the USC 2% entry point rate will rise to €13,000, meaning someone earning below this level will not pay USC
  3. * the entry point for the highest rate of income tax will rise by €750, from €34,550 to €35,300, for single individuals and €43,550 to €44,300 for married one-earner couples, costing €161m
  4. * and the rise in the hourly minimum wage from €9.55 to €9.80
  5. The home carer tax credit rises from €1,200 to €1,500 – costing €24m.
  6. The home earned income credit will rise from €1,150 to €1,350, – costing €48m.
  7. A betting tax change will see taxes on bookmakers rise from 1% to 2%, while hotel VAT will rise from 9% to 13.5%, bringing in €560m.
  8. There’s a rise in the threshold for inheritance tax from €310,000 to €320,000, costing the State €8.1m
  9.  The employers PRSI threshold will rise from €376 to €386, costing the State €3m.

HEALTH:

Health Minister Simon Harris remains confident that abortion services will be in place from January and funding will be provided across community and hospital settings to develop a full range of services within the public health system.

The overall health budget is to increase by €1.05billion to €17.02bn next year!

€9m has been allocated to pay for the introduction of HPV tests as well as extending the existing HPV vaccination programme to boys.

An extra €20m goes to the National Treatment Purchase Fund to boost the fund to €75m.

Other health measures include:

  1. – A reduction in prescription change for over 70s by 50c.
  2. – An increase in the GP visit card weekly income threshold by €25.
  3. – A €10 reduction in the monthly Drugs Payment Scheme from €134 to €124.
  4. The budget allocation for mental health services will go up bringing the total available to €1bn, this is a 9% increase.
  5. While the allocation for disability services will jump by €150m bringing the total amount allocated to this area to almost €2bn.

HOUSING:

€2.4 billion to address the national housing crisis. €1.4bn for the building of new social and affordable homes.

16,760 additional homes will be accommodated under the Housing Assistant Payment at a cost of €121m.

Day-to-day spending on social housing is to increase by €40m to deliver almost 5,000 new homes in 2019.

Another €30m has been made available for homelessness services. €8m has been provided to assist the Tenancies Board in implementing tenancy law.

An additional €60m has been provided for local government to cover increased pension and pay costs under national pay deal.

€210 million has been announced for local authorities to build and acquire new homes for social housing.

A further €69m has been provided for the servicing of local authority sites, to assist with the delivery of affordable homes.

€122 million in additional funds have been allocated for investment in the country’s water network.

€83 million has been allocated to meet increased costs in the Urban Renewal Scheme

SOCIAL PROTECTION:

Social Protection will receive a total of €20.5bn for 2019. The biggest allocation of any sector.

New welfare measures will cost a total of €361m.

Social welfare weekly benefits rise for all 1.47 million recipients requiring €268.7m.

The weekly rate of the qualified child increase for children under 12 by €2.20 per week to €34.

For those children over 12, he has increased it by €5.20 a week to €37.

Lone Parents allowance increases by €20 a week to €150 a week.

Back to School allowance up by €25 from €125 to €150 for primary school children and from €250 to €275 for secondary.

Social insurance paid parental leave scheme announced today for employees and self-employed of two weeks’ leave per parent in line with maternity benefit.

The duration of the fuel season is extended from 27 weeks to 28 weeks at a cost of €8.4m. Budgets for the free TV licence and free travel by €5 million each.

CHILDREN:

The Government will increase childcare funding by 18% bringing the total allocation to €574m. Overall the Department of Children’s received an extra €127m in funding.

Included in the measures is a loosening of the income threshold for the Affordable Childcare Scheme as follows:

  1. -The base income threshold will increase from €22,700 to €26,000
  2. -The maximum income threshold will go from €47,500 to €60,000.
  3. -The multiple child deduction will increase from €3,800 to €4,300.

The child and family agency TUSLA, will receive over €30m more bringing their overall allocation to €786m.

JUSTICE:

The Government will recruit an additional 800 Gardaí in 2019 which will cost €63.5m.

That will help hire additional managers and civilians in the force as well as addressing overtime.

Overall, an additional €89m in current spending has been approved as well as a further €76m in capital expenditure.

The criminal legal aid system has and increased provision of €12m.

Just €10m has been allocated to support the ongoing re-structuring of the Department of Justice and to implement the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.

Just €3.5m extra is allocated for the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, and only €1.6m for the Office of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.