THE GOVERNMENT has today broken with decades of political tradition by announcing its Budget measures over two days instead of the usual one.
Today in the Dáil, public expenditure minister Brendan Howlin announced cutbacks of some €2.2 billion in public spending – which will tomorrow be joined by another €1.6 billion in tax increases announced by Michael Noonan.
Here, in numbers, are some of the measures announced earlier today.
€2,200 million – the difference in government spending between last year’s Budget, announced by Brian Lenihan 363 days ago, and this year’s Budget as initially announced by public expenditure minister Brendan Howlin today.
€19 – the fall, per month, in child benefit payable in respect of a parent’s third child – which, from January, will fall from €167 per month to €148. Payments for fourth children will fall from €177 each month to €160. From 2013, payments will be standardised at €140 per child.
€250 – the increase in the student registration fee payable by third-level students next year, pushing the fee from €2,000 this year to €2,250 next year.
25 per cent – the cut in the back-to-school allowance payable to the parents of children aged between 4 and 11. The payment will be cut from €200 to €150 next year.
26 weeks – the ‘season’ covered by the fuel allowance payment, as of next year. Currently applicants can seek an allowance to help cover the cost of home heating for 32 weeks of the year, but this is to be reduced.
5,965 - the number of whole-time equivalent staff to be removed from the public payroll next year. This will bring the number of people employed by the State down to 294,265.
3,200 – the number of staff to be cut from the HSE payroll next year, making up over half of the numbers to be cut from the public payroll in 2012.
40 per cent – the amount of government spending allocated to Social Protection, by far the highest portion of government expenditure. Gross expenditure in social protection will be cut by €404 million next year, but the government will still spend over €20,500 million in this sector.
5 days – Jobseekers’ benefit will now be paid out on the basis of a five-day working week and not a six-day week. This means that someone with a job for two days a week can only receive welfare payments for the other three days, rather than the other four days as present. This should save €5.9 million next year.
€132 – the amount, per month, that a person will now have to spend on prescription drugs before qualifying for the drugs payment scheme. This was previously €120 per month.
31 – the number of currently functioning Garda stations which will close during 2012. Four of those are in Dublin, eight in the West, ten in the South, eight in the Nirth and one in the south-east. Eight more stations which are currently ‘non-operational’ will not re-open. Another 10 stations in Dublin will lose their 24-hour public service and be closed from 10pm to 8am.
€114m – the amount by which the overall Garda budget will be cut next year. The budget of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will be cut by €3.71 million.
€315m - the amount by which the HSE’s budget will be cut in 2012. The Department of Health’s budget will be increased by €42m.
€337m – the amount by which the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government’s budget will be hit in 2012.
€336m – the amount by which the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s budget is being cut.
€100 – the amount each household in the state will be expected to pay under the new ‘household charge’ regime, as outlined by legislation published today. The government hopes to raise €160m each year through that levy.
€55m – the amount the government hopes to save in cutbacks to rent supplement.
€8.1m - the amount by which spending on sports and recreation services have been cut in this Budget.
€0 – the cut in the Budget to the ‘Centenarian’s bounty’ – the cheque of €2,540 that each citizen in Ireland gets when they turn 100 years of age. This costs €1.04 million a year – slightly over a third of the entire cost of running the President’s establishment.
€1,600 million – the amount of income to be raised through various taxes and levies, of which details will be confirmed by Michael Noonan tomorrow.