AS DETAILS OF today’s budget become clearer, we know that the nation’s road network isn’t going to get any better in the next few years, while students are facing a reduction in their grant money.
But the cuts are wide-ranging:
- Capital provision expenditure for national roads will be cut by €394 million to €720 million and an ‘across-the-board reduction’ in maintenance expenditure on national, regional and local roads will be imposed.
- A cut in the exchequer grant to the Road Safety Authority is also imminent.
- From mid-2011, there will be a curtailment of support for regional air services.
- The post-primary charge will be increased to €350 and a €50 fee at primary level (excluding those with medical cards) will be introduced.
- Student grants will be reduced by 4%.
- A 5% reduction in all capitation grants – even those for adult literacy, community education, school completion programme and Youthreach – will be implemented.
- The Student Services Charge will be replaced with a flat higher education student contribution of €2,000, and a €200 charge for PLC students will be introduced. The higher Student Service charge will only apply to one child in a family at any one time.
- Overall health budget for 2011 will be €14.1 billion, a reduction of more than €700 million on this year
- Exchequer funding for TG4 will be reduced with the shortfall made up from RTÉ’s licence fee income. This will, we’re told, yield a net programme saving of €6.2m.
- Despite representation from the main sporting bodies recently, there will be reduced funding for bodies and agencies including the Irish Sports Council and National Sports Campus.
- Arts Council budget will be reduced by 5%.
- There promises to be a lower exchequer contribution to the Local Government Fund.
- The Defence Forces’ budget will be pared back by 4%.
- There will be a reduction in the provision for allowances for overseas deployment.
- The number of civilian employees attached to military installations will be lowered.