Monday 10 December 2018

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Mixed bag for Budget 2019

Wednesday, 10th October, 2018 5:09pm

Housing and childcare spending and tax cuts were among the key features of Budget 2019, which was unveiled this week after weeks of intense speculation.

Although many details had been revealed by the media in the days preceding the official announcement, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed a number of new measures for Budget 2019 including increased spending on housing and tax cuts and increased VAT on hotels and restaurants.

Irish people will have a few more euro in their pocket with a reduction in the universal social charge (USC), which will fall from 4.75 per cent to 4.5 per cent for those earning between €19,874 and €70,004.

The point people hit the higher 40 per cent rate of income tax will rise by €750, from €34,550 to €35,300 for a single worker.

Minimum wage will also increase to €9.80, and the level for the higher rate of employer’s PRSI will be increased by €10, from €376 to €386.

Despite wide speculation, the Budget confirmed there will be no increase in the carbon tax rate, while Minister Donohoe indicated he will extend the vehicle registration tax (VRT) relief for hybrid vehicles until the end of 2019.

Budget 2019 also benefitted parents, with a rise of €90 million for early years care and education, to €570 million, and two weeks’ paid parental leave to every parent of a child under one year.

There are increases to the Qualified Child Payment of €2.20 per week in respect of under 12s, and €5.20 per week in respect of over 12s, as well as a €25 increase in both back to school clothing and footwear allowance rates.

Responding to the budget, Kieran Stafford, St Vincent de Paul National President, said: “While many of the measures announced will help families who are struggling, much remains to be done in the areas of education, housing and childcare so that individuals and families can get out and stay out of poverty.”

Stay-At-Home Parents Association Ireland spokesperson Pauline O’Reilly, in acknowledging the increase of €300 in Home Carer tax credit, said: “Those who fall outside of the tax bracket or who are co-habiting will not benefit.

“Those who are stay-at-home parents make up the majority of parents in the country and receive no social welfare benefits as they are not considered to be available for work,” she said.

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