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Budget 2020: Here are the main points you need to know

How will today’s announcements affect you?

PASCHAL DONOHOE BEGAN his Budget as Finance Minister at 1pm this afternoon. 

“This is a Budget that has been developed in the shadow of Brexit,” he told the Dáil today. “The government is clear about the challenges posed by Brexit.”

So how will today’s announcements affect you? This piece will be updated as the Budget unfolds. 

We’re live blogging all the detail and reaction as it happens and here are the main points:

Brexit 

A much-flagged €1.2 billion Brexit fund – excluding EU funding – was announced today. 

If there is a no-deal Brexit, €650 million will be provided for agriculture, enterprise and tourism. 

€110 million will be provided through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which will support fish and beef industries after Brexit. 

Specifically, that’s €85 million for beef farmers and €14 million for fisheries. The government also said that €6 million would be provided for livestock and mushroom farmers, with €5 for the food and drinks industry. 

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Donohoe said that €110 million will be provided to help “vulnerable but viable firms”

€40 million will be used to support the tourism sector in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

Housing

For anyone trying to buy a house, the Help to Buy scheme has been extended for another two years to 2021. 

Donohoe also announced funding of €1.1 billion to build social housing, as well as an additional €80 million for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme. 

The government also announced funding of €20 million for homeless services – a 13% increase, bringing total funding to €166 million. 

If you’re a renter, there wasn’t much to excite you in the Budget. The height of it - €2 million to the Residential Tenancies Board to ensure rent-pressure zone measures are properly enforced. 

Tax

There were no changes to income tax – Donohoe told the Dáil he didn’t want to make cuts that may have to be reversed in the future. 

He did announce that the Earned Income Credit for self-employed would increase by €150, bringing the total value to €1,500, while also announcing an increase of €100 in the Home Carer Credit – this raises the total credit to €1,600. 

People can claim this home carer credit if they’re married and care for one or more people. 

Donohoe also said that he was “recognising” concerns about the capital acquisitions tax on the inheritance of a family home. 

He announced that the tax-free threshold for inheritance from a parent to a child would increase from €320,000 to €335,000.

For how this will affect your income, see our Budget 2020 calculator

Rainy Day Fund

The Rainy Day Fund proved a source of controversy ahead of the Budget. 

Today, Donohoe confirmed that €500 million will not be transferred to the fund this year, as the government prepares for Brexit. 

Donohoe called it an “appropriate response to the more challenging economic environment we may be facing”. 

Carbon tax

A much-expected increase in the carbon tax was announced today. The only thing that remained unclear was the size of the increase.

Donohoe announced an increase of €6 per tonne on petrol and diesel, which will come into effect at midnight. This brings the size of the carbon tax to €26

“This will not be easy for everyone,” he admitted, promising a package of funding to be targeted at the midlands. 

Health

Health expenditure is set to increase by 6.3% to €17.4 billion in 2020. 

Donohoe announced an extra €25 million for the National Treatment purchase fund, while the Drug Payment Scheme threshold has been lowered by €10 per month, bringing the level to €114. 

Prescription charges have also been dropped by 50 cent

As part of the Budget, the medical card income threshold for over 70s increased by €50 for single people and by €150 for couples. 

Additional funding – €25 million – was announced to address waiting lists on the HSE. 

Social Welfare

Donohoe pledged €690m in 2020 for social welfare. 

There will be a 100% Christmas bonus to be paid to all social welfare recipients in 2019, while there’ll also be a €5 increase in the Living Alone Allowance in 2020. 

A €15 increase in the weekly disregard for the One Parent Family payment, as well as for Jobseeker Transition, which is available to support single parents entering jobs when they have young children. 

The Budget will also see an increase in Jobseeker’s Allowance for 25-year-olds from €157.80 to €203. For people aged between 18 and 24 who receive housing support, the rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance will also increase to €203. 

Transport

Donohoe announced that the government will invest in rural transport – the lack of funding has been a long-standing gripe by rural TDs. 

So €9 million is going to provide for new greenways and urban cycling projects, while €3 million has been promised for infrastructure for electric vehicles – this means more charging points for drivers. 

He also said the funding would create a new scheme for communal charging points at apartment blocks. 

The 1% diesel surcharge introduced in 2018 will also now be replaced with a nitrogen oxide emissions-based charge. 

This surcharge will apply to all passenger cars registering for the first time in Ireland from 1 January 2020.

Cigarettes 

The price of a packet of cigarettes has increased. Donohoe said he is increasing the excise duty on a pack of 20 cigarettes by 50 cent, 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.

Corporation tax

As expected, the 12.5% rate of corporation tax isn’t changing

Fuel allowance

The fuel allowance is increasing – it’s going up by €2 per week. 

The Warmer Homes schemes will also receive €13 million. 

Parents

Like many other measures, free GP care for children under eight and free dental care for children under six were widely anticipated ahead of the Budget. 

Donohoe confirmed that these measures will be introduced from September 2020. 

He also announced a €3 increase in Qualified Child Payment for children over 12 and a €2 increase for children under 12. 

Gardaí

The Budget provided a 4.7% increase in the gardaí budget – bringing the total to €81 million. 

Donohoe said that this would mean 700 new Garda recruits

Education

For 2020, €11 billion is set to be provided to the Department of Education and Skills.

This includes 150 new teaching posts in schools, as well as a €1.9 billion investment in special education to hire over 1,000 special needs assistants. 

The National Training Fund levy has will increase by 0.1%, with the €74 million raised from this to be invested in higher and further education. 

The Arts

Screen Ireland will receive extra funding of €1 million. 

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