At 1 o’clock this afternoon, Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe began announcing the details of Budget 2018.
He said the budget “will deliver this government’s long-held directive of broadly balancing the books.”
Here are the main points:
- The budget will amount to €60.9 billion for 2018. That’s € 12,700 per person in the country.
- In relation to economic growth, it’s projected to be 4.3% by the end of 2017 and 3.5% in 2018.
- Unemployment is to fall to 5.7% next year.
- A ‘Rainy Day Fund’ is to be established in the next year with € 1.5 billion being transferred from the Ireland Strategic Investment fund to start it off. From 2019 €500 million a year will be added to the Rainy Day Fund.
- € 1.83 billion has been announced for housing in 2018.
- 3,800 new social houses are to be built next year.
- HAPS scheme getting additional € 149 million to support an additional 17,000 households in 2018.
- €500 million for direct build programme which will be responsible for 3,000 new social houses by 2021.
- A new entity, Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI), will be created with €750 million from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund being allocated for commercial investment in housing through this.
- The 3% levy for 1st year of vacant site will more than double to 7%. Any landowners who don’t develop that site in 2018 will pay 3% in 2018 but 7% from 2019 on.
- There will be an increase of € 685m in Health spending in 2018, bringing the total to €15.3bn for 2018 – a 5% increase.
- Funding has also been announced for an extra 1,800 frontline staff.
- The National Treatment Purchase Fund will be given €55 million, which is a trebling on 2017’s allocation.
- As expected, cigarettes have increased by 50 cent for a pack of 20.
- The Sugar Tax has now been announced. There will now be a 30 cent tax on a litre of fizzy drinks with 8g of sugar per 100ml, and there’ll be a 20 cent tax on a litre of fizzy drinks with between 5 and 8g per 100ml.
- The prescription charge is to be reduced from €2.50 to €2.00 per item.
- The student teacher ration is to be reduced to 26:1.
- 1,000 extra special needs teachers will have been employed by Sept 2018, bringing the total to 15,000.
- 800 extra Gardaí are to be recruited in 2018.
- An additional 500 civilians are also to be hired into the force.
Tourism and Sport:
- The Dept of Transport & Tourism is to have a budget of over € 2bn – €112m for tourism and marketing the country, while Sport will get €111m for sport in 2018.
- The VAT rate on tourism & services sector WILL NOT change.
- An extra €2.5m has been allocated for Irish language training in 2018.
- The Department of Agriculture will get an extra €64m, bringing total in 2018 to €1.5bn.
- Tusla is to get extra funding of €40m for child protection, bringing total to €754m.
- €20 million is being invested in ensuring a full free two-year pre-school programme.
- The point of entering the higher income tax rate will be raised by €750 from €33,800 to € 34,550.
Universal Social Charge:
- Entry point to the USC remains at € 13,000.
- The 2.5% rate will be lowered to 2% with the ceiling for this rate raised from € 18,772 to € 19,372 (keeps minimum wage earners out of it).
- The 5% USC rate will be lowered to 4.75%.
- The Home Carer Credit is to increase by €100 in 2018 to €1,200 a year.
- 147,000 self-employed people are to see their Earned Income Credit raised by €200 to €1,150 in 2018.
- There’ll be a €5 increase per week in all weekly social welfare payments, which will take effect from the last week of March 2018.
- There’ll be a 0% benefit in kind on electric vehicles.
Tune into KCLR this evening from 5.30pm for a breakdown and full analysis of what Budget 2018 means for you