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Budget 2021 at a glance

Wednesday, 14th October, 2020 2:34pm

It’s good news for drinkers and not so good news for smokers as the dust settles after the announcement of Budget 2021.

Smokers now have to fork out an extra 50c per box of 20 cigarettes, bringing the total price to €14. That equates to 70c per individual cigarette.

John Mallon, spokesman for the smokers' group Forest Ireland called the increase “another kick in the teeth” for consumers.

After a long and difficult year for Irish pubs, there will be no increase on alcohol tax this year, a decision gladly welcomed by publicans nationwide.

There was further good news for those who were forced to close their pubs due to restrictions with the announcement of the Covid Restriction Support Scheme (CRSS) which will provide up to €5,000 in funding to businesses.

A 12-month VAT cut was confirmed for the hospitality and tourism sectors, bringing it down from 13.5 per cent to nine per cent from 1 November.

The health service also faired well with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) welcoming a “much needed” €4 billion in extra spending money allocated in the budget.

Mental health services will receive €38 million, with €20 million going to disability services and €5 million to community-based dementia supports.

In motoring, vehicle owners must now pay an extra €1.51 for a full tank of diesel and €1.30 for petrol due to an increase in carbon tax by €7.50 per tonne. An average new car will cost an extra €1,000.

In education, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) acknowledged the Government’s commitment to reduce “supersized classes” by an average of one pupil next year.

A total of €8.9 billion was allocated to education this year, €2 billion of which will be spent on special education.

In social welfare, there was positive news for those approaching retirement as plans to increase the pension age to 67 on 1 January have been binned.

Those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic were delighted to hear that the Temporary Wage Scheme is now set to continue into 2021. A Christmas bonus was also confirmed for anyone on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) for four months or more.

However, despite increases in the Living Alone Allowance, the Fuel Allowance and targeted supports for children, the Society of St Vincent de Paul said the budget has provided “little to prevent escalation in poverty or a growth in inequality”.

In business, a sum of €10 million has been ringfenced for Cork and Shannon airports, with €50 million to go to Live Entertainment Supports.

Arts Council Funding was increased to €130m.

Those forced to work from home can now claim a tax deduction for broadband costs, as well as other utilities.

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