Budget 2020: The key points...

By Brendan Grehan

AN INCREASE in carbon tax, a Brexit package and medical cards for children under eight are some of the main talking points in Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe’s Budget 2020 which he announced in the Dáil on Tuesday.

Minister Donohoe’s overall budget day package is €2.9 billion.

money

Budget 2020

Brexit

He announced a Brexit package of €1.2 billion.

In the event of a no-deal the following measures have been announced:

€220 million will be deployed immediately, €650 million has been allocated for agriculture and tourism and €85 million has been allocated for beef farmers.

The fishing industry will be allocated €14 million and the livestock and mushroom industry will receive €6 million.

The food and drinks industry will get €5 million in the event of a no-Brexit.

Under social welfare, €365 million will be provided for extra Social Protection expenditure benefit in the event of a no-deal Brexit while €45 million has been announced to assist people to transition to new work.

Climate Change

The prices at the petrol pumps have gone up from Tuesday day with a carbon tax increase of €6 per tonne. Other carbon tax changes to other fuels will come into effect in May 2020.

The 1 per cent diesel surcharge introduced in 2018 will be replaced with a nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions-based charge.

This surcharge will apply to all passenger cars registering for the first time in the State from January 1st, 2020.

VRT relief for hybrid vehicles has been extended to 2020. €13 million has been allocated to the Warmer Homes scheme to provide free energy efficiency upgrades to households deemed to be in or at risk of energy poverty.

Social Welfare

The living alone allowance has been increased by €5. Child payments rise by €3 for over 12s and €2 for under 12s . Fuel allowance will increase by €2 per week.

There will be a 100 per cent  Christmas bonus to all social welfare recipients in 2019. The One Parent Family Payment has been increased by €15 and the Working Family Payment will increase by €10.

Business

Minister Donohoe has allocated €1bn to the Department of Business. This represents a 2 per cent increase.

Agriculture.

A €2 billion investment in rural Ireland Farm restructuring relief has been extended to December 2022. Agriculture has been allocated €51 million.

Tourism

€40 million has been allocated for tourism specific initiatives plus extra support in event of a no-deal Brexit.

The Department of Transport is to receive an extra €384 million in 2020.

Overseas aid

Oversea development assistance will get an extra €21 million in 2020. The Government will allocate €837 million in 2020 to be invested in less developed countries.

Homeless services

An extra €20million has been allocated for homeless services.

Social housing

€2.5 billion has been allocated for social housing programme in 2020. Another 12,000 social housing units announced for 2021.

Housing

Housing Assistance Payment (Hap) will get an extra €80 million.

The Help-to-Buy Scheme in its current form has been extended for a further period of two years to the end of 2021.

The rate of stamp duty applicable to non-residential property transactions has increased by 1.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent from midnight Tuesday. The Inheritance tax threshold will increase from €320,000 to €335,000.

Healthcare

An extra €1billion has been allocated to health, bringing its budget up to €17.4 billion.

Minister Donohoe announced free GP care for children under eight and free dental care for children under six.

One million additional home-care hours are to be provided next year.

Prescription charges for all people will be cut by 50 cent. Home carers’ credits will increase by €100. 56,000 extra medical cards have been allocated for people over 70 years old.

Cigarettes

From midnight Tuesday, there is 50 cent extra on a packet of 20 cigarettes, bringing the average cost of a packet of 20 to €13.50.

Education

The Department’s budget has been increased by almost €2 billon.  Over 150 new mainstream teaching posts and more money for special education have been announced which will fund over 400 new teachers and more than 1,000 special needs assistants.

Gardaí

€81 million extra for gardaí to deliver up to 700 new recruits, as well as extra civilian staff to enable a bump in front line policing.

Children

€94 million has been allocated to the Department of Children including an increase in allocation to Tusla of over €29 million to support the continued reduction in the amount of children in need of social workers.

Self-employed

The Minister is increasing earned income credit to reach €1,500.

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