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13th Oct 2015

How will Budget 2016 affect YOUR family?

Here's what you need to know.

Katie Mythen-Lynch

They promised that Budget 2016 would “focus on work, supporting families, the elderly and the vulnerable” and while the improvements revealed by Minister Michael Noonan today are a drop in the ocean for many cash-strapped Irish families, there is some blessed relief in the form of tax cuts and spending increases.

In fact, if you choose to look at the positives, the second expansionary budget after seven years of austerity offered a little good news for almost everyone, with Noonan emphasising that the benefits of a growing economy should be “felt inside the door of every family”.

Here’s what you need to know…

Child Benefit

  • Child benefit will increase by €5 to €140

Childcare

  • Statutory paternity leave of two weeks has been confirmed and will be introduced in September 2016.
  • Children will be eligible for free childcare (pre-school place) from age three until they start primary school.
  • €3m to be invested in after-school services

Education

  • A total of 2,200 new teachers (including 600 resource teachers for children with special needs) will enter the system this year, reducing the teacher/student ratio in primary schools to 27:1.

Health

  • As of next year, free GP care will be provided to all children under 12 years of age, subject to negotiations.

Housing

  • The revaluation date for the Local Property Tax has been postponed from 2016 to 2019.
  • NAMA is to provide social housing at a rate of 20,000 residential units before the end of 2020. 90 per cent of the housing, three-quarters of which will be houses, will be in the greater Dublin area.

Banking

  • The €5 stamp duty on debit cards has been replaced with a 12c charge per ATM transaction. This will be capped annually at between €2.50 and €5 depending on your card.
  • The transaction limit on contactless payment cards is also to rise from €15 to €30 on October 31.

Social Protection

  • As of January 1st, the Minimum Wage will increase by 50c from €8.65 to €9.15 per hour.
  • The Family Income Supplement threshold is being increased by €5 per week for parents with one child and by €10 per week for families with two or more children.
  • The Christmas bonus, which was abolished in 2009, will be restored by 75 per cent for jobseekers and those on long-term social welfare payments.

Older People

  • The Old Age Pension is to increase by €3 a week from January 2016. The Fuel Allowance will also be increased by €2.50 to €22.50 per week starting in January.

Carers

  • The Respite Care Grant, an annual payment made to 77,000 carers, is to be fully restored to €1,700. The payment, which had been cut by €325, helps carers to get some respite for themselves or for the person for whom they are caring.
  • There will also be an increase of €190 in Home Carer Tax Credit to bring it up to €1,000 per year.

USC

  • The Universal Social Charge (USC) will be slashed, with the top rate of 7.5 per cent, applied to those who earn between €17,500-€70,000, cut to 5.5 per cent and the lower rates reduced to three per cent and one per cent. The level at which Irish workers begin paying the charge, €12,012, will also be increased to €13,000.
  • The Government will progressively abolish USC “to make Ireland more attractive for mobile foreign investment” and returning emigrants.

Cigarettes and Alcohol

  • The price of 20 cigarettes is to increase by 50c at midnight tonight, bringing in an extra €61.4m in extra funding to be distributed elsewhere.

How do you feel about Budget 2016? Share your views on Twitter @HerFamilydotie.