It’s not groundbreaking but there is some good news for families and the elderly in the Budget for 2020.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe revealed the government’s fiscal measures for 2020 in the Dáil this afternoon.
Despite the shadow of a no-deal Brexit, the minister, addressing the situation in his opening remarks, said he expects that an additional 19,000 jobs will be created in Ireland next year.
As expected, the €70bn in spending will be allocated in four key areas, as detailed again a tweet by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this afternoon:
Budget day, busy day. #Budget2020 amounts to €70bn of spending to:
1️⃣ Protect Ireland from the worst of a No Deal Brexit
2️⃣ Protect the environment
3️⃣ Deliver balanced regional development
4️⃣ Make life a little easier for families
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) October 8, 2019
Here’s a handy breakdown:
- Medical card income thresholds will increase for people over 70 by €50 for a single person or €150 for a couple per week, benefiting up to 56,000 people.
- Prescription charges for all persons will be reduced by 50 cent and the Drug Payment Scheme is being reduced by €10 per month.
- From September, the Government intends to expand free GP care to children under 8 and free dental care for children under 6.
- €1m additional home care hours will be provided in 2020.
- The Home Carer Credit will increase by €100 to bring the value of the credit to €1,600. “This will support working families with caring responsibilities in the home.”
Brexit: Minister Donohoe announced a package of over €1.2 billion, excluding EU funding, to respond to Brexit. The first part, approximately €200 million in Brexit expenditure, will be made available next year.
- The Qualified Child Payment will increase by a further €3 for over 12s and €2 for under 12s.
- There will be further increases of €15 for the One Parent Family Payment and Jobseeker Transition income and €10 for the Working Family Payment income threshold for families with up to three children.
Cigarettes: The excise duty on a pack of 20 cigarettes will increase by 50 cents, with a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products. This will bring the price of cigarettes in the most popular price category to €13.50. The VAT increase of will come into effect at midnight tonight, Tuesday, October 8th.
Inheritance tax: The lifetime Group A tax-free threshold, which broadly applies to transfers between parents and their children, will increase from €320K to €335K.
- A 100% Christmas bonus will be paid to all social welfare recipients in 2019.
- The Living Alone Allowance will increase by €5 “to help our most vulnerable elderly and disabled people.”
- The Fuel Allowance will increase by €2 per week.
Renters: Almost €2m in additional funding has been allocated to the Residential Tenancies Board to support their increased powers to investigate and sanction non-compliance with Rent Pressure Zone measures.
Self-employed: For the self-employed, an increase to the Earned Income Credit by €150 will bring the value of the credit to €1,500, costing an additional €27m in 2020.
Housing: Over €2.5 billion has been allocated to the Housing Programme in 2020, allowing Government to continue to respond to the significant increase in demand for housing supports while also prioritising investment in the social housing programme.
- Stamp duty for non-residential property will be increased by 1.5% effective from tonight.
- €80m in funding will also go towards the Housing Assistance Payment scheme next year. This funding will support the existing tenancies availing of the payment, as well as an additional 15,750 new tenancies in 2020.
- The Help to Buy Scheme will be extended in its current form for a further period of two years to the end of 2021.
- €13m has been allocated for the Warmer Homes scheme to provide free energy efficiency upgrades to households deemed to be in or at risk of energy poverty.
Homelessness: €20m has been allocated to homeless services, bringing total funding to €166m in 2020. According to the minister, “This will support people in emergency accommodation and increase preventative measures, long-term support and day services.”
Mobility: €9m has been earmarked for sustainable mobility projects around the country including greenways and new urban cycling projects. An additional €3m has been allocated for electric vehicle infrastructure.
Policing: The budget of An Garda Síochána will be increased by €81m for 2020.