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Boiling down the Budget: Here are all the major changes in one place

It’s time to take stock of what the Budget brought, what it means for people, and how the country responded.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THE DUST HAS started to settle on the Budget 2023 announcement.

The real test, of course, will be whether the changes it introduces over the next weeks and months make a material difference to the country and to people’s lives.

Whether you fall in the camp calling it a ‘giveaway’ Budget or the one arguing it fell short of tackling the cost of living crisis, it was certainly a budget with a long list of small details.

Now that we’re a few days past the initial announcement, it’s time to take stock of what the Budget brought, what it means for people, and how the country responded.

Here’s where you can find everything you need to know about Budget 2023 on The Journal.

Income tax standard rate cut off point raised to €40,000

The most significant change to income tax in the Budget was that the entry point for the higher tax band rose from €36,800 to €40,000 for single people and from €45,800 to €49,000 for married couples in a one-income household.

That means the amount of money those people are earning that is taxed at the higher rate – 40% instead of 20% – will be smaller. Or, for someone who earns somewhere between the old and new cut off point, they would now not be taxed at the higher level at all.

What does that mean for me?

The Journal worked out examples of what those tax changes mean for people on various incomes.

If you’re earning €30,000, €40,000, €60,000 or €100,000, you can use our examples to check what level of savings you’ll receive under the Budget.

Or, to calculate your new tax for your specific salary, you can use our Budget Calculator.

Core welfare payments increasing by €12 and plan for one-off double payments confirmed

The maximum rate of core social welfare payments and the State pension will rise by €12 per week from January.

The increase will bring the full State pension to €265.30 per week and the maximum personal rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Jobseeker’s Benefit with no dependents to €220 per week.

There’ll be lower, proportional increases for people on lower rates of the payments.
The overall social welfare package is worth €2.2 billion.

It includes a double social welfare payment in October and another in December, as well as a double Child Benefit payment in November.

Several once-off payments were also announced:

  • €500 in November for recipients of the Working Family Payment
  • €500 for recipients of the Carer’s Support Grant
  • €500 for recipients of disability support payments
  • €200 for recipients of the Living Alone Allowance
  • €400 for recipients of the Fuel Allowance

All households to receive energy credits worth a total of €600

Pressure has been on the government for months to come up with a measure to mitigate the burden of rising energy costs on the public.

Its answer in the Budget was a plan for all households to receive energy credits worth a total of €600 over the coming months.

The credits will be applied automatically to accounts in a series of three €200 credits, with the first being applied to bills in November, and again in January and March. It’s expected to come at a total cost of €1.2 billion. 

Explained: How can I get the most out of Budget 2023?

Financial advisor Ralph Benson analysed the Budget for The Journal’s Voices section to determine how people can make sure they get the most out of it.

He has three key pieces of advice – find them here.

Sinn Féin leader labels Rental Tax Credit a ‘half-baked measure’ that could ‘fuel rent hikes’

The Budget introduced a new tax credit for renters worth €500 per year. It will apply for 2022 and can be claimed until 2025.

Around 400,000 people will be eligible for the tax credit at a cost to the Exchequer of around €200 million.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald accused Taoiseach Micheál Martin of leaving “the door wide open for more rent hikes, more exploitation, and more hardship”.

She called on the government to “give renters a real break by putting a month’s rent back into their pockets through a refundable tax credit” and “provide certainty and protection by banning rent increases for three years”.

However, the Taoiseach said the Budget had to be “viewed in its entirety” and that the government is “helping the most vulnerable in our society”.  

To cut through the back and forth and get to an explanation of what the rent credit actually involves, you can find all the details here.

Minister hopes parents using childminders will benefit from cheaper childcare next year

The Budget announcement told parents using full-time early learning and childcare services that they can expect an average reduction in cost of 25%.

Childcare providers must be registered with Tusla to be eligible for the National Childcare Scheme, meaning that it will apply for services like crèches rather than private childminders.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said it will most likely be the end of 2023 or early 2024 when a new system will be in place to allow childminders onto the scheme.

Trade union Fórsa said the budget’s childcare measures should have been more radical, with general secretary Kevin Callinan saying the current high costs demand a permanent solution, such as a fully publicly funded universal system.

VAT is scrapped on newspapers, defibrillators and HRT but will increase for hospitality

There were several decisions on VAT that came out of this Budget.

Pubs, restaurants and other entertainment and tourism businesses will stay at the special reduced rate of 9% until the end of February next year, when it will then return to 13.5%.

The lower 6% VAT rate for electricity and gas was extended until 28 February.

And VAT is being scrapped entirely on newspapers and various health products, including defibrillators and hormone replacement and nicotine replacement therapies.

“The government is aware of the critical role that newspapers play in our society, from reporting on local communities to holding those in power to account. For that reason, I will be reducing the VAT on newspapers from 9% to zero from 1 January 2023,” Donohoe said.

IVF publicly funded through private clinics won’t start until September 2023

In a major development in healthcare, publicly funded IVF services are now set to be rolled out from next year.

Free access will be phased in from September 2023, though the details about who will be eligible have not yet been confirmed.

“Ireland is an outlier and we should be providing funding for publicly accessible IVF,” Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said.

“It simply isn’t fair that there are couples that desperately want to have a child and because it is so expensive to do so, can’t even try or maybe they can try one round and that’s it.” 

Cariban: Drug to help women who suffer severe pregnancy sickness to be available by January

Women who suffer from extreme sickness during pregnancy will soon get free access to Cariban, a medicine that is currently unavailable on the drugs payment scheme or medical card.

Some pregnant people experience a severe and persistent type of sickness and vomiting, known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum or HG. Treating it with Cariban can currently cost up to €3,000 over the course of a pregnancy.

The Budget allocated €1 million to the cost of the medicine when it is prescribed by a consultant obstetrician.

Carbon tax to rise again next month – but impact on fuel for vehicles cost to be offset

The Budget confirmed that the carbon tax will rise again next month as planned.

The rate will increase from €41 to €48.50 per tonne of carbon dioxide on auto fuels from 12 October and all other fuels from 1 May 2023.

However, something different that this year’s Budget brought is that the increase from the carbon tax on the price of oil is set to be offset by cutting the National Oil Reserves Agency (Nora) levy.

Revenue from the carbon tax is allocated to climate action measures such as retrofitting, agriculture schemes, and social protection for communities affected by climate action.

Also under Minister Eamon Ryan’s department was an extension of the reduced public transport fares that were introduced over the last year.

National Security: 1,000 new gardaí, and defence funding to include money for primary air radar

The Budget includes funding for a range of measures in An Garda Síochána.

1,000 new gardaí will be recruited into Templemore next year to boost the force’s numbers, while 430 new garda civilian staff will be used to help free up frontline gardaí for core policing duties.

It also made provision for an increase in overtime to help gardaí tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

There is a €9 million increase (22%) in resources to tackle domestic, sexual, gender-based violence and funds to support victims and implement the Zero Tolerance Plan.

Youth Justice funding was increased by €2.5 million to €24 million to divert young people from crime.

For defence, the Budget allocated €1.174 billion to Defence Group funding, an increase of €67 million on 2022.

One key area of the budget is a project to build a primary radar capability for the Irish Defence Forces, which would enable security forces to see aircraft inbound to Irish airspace.

10% levy on concrete blocks to help fund mica and pyrite redress schemes

The government agreed earlier this year to fund a redress scheme for homeowners affected by defective materials containing mica or pyrite.

Now, in the Budget, it announced that a 10% levy will be introduced on concrete to partially offset what it called the “significant cost” of the scheme. The levy is expected to raise €80 million annually, while the estimated cost of the scheme as of June was €2.7 billion.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said the levy will take effect from next April but that the details still need to be worked out.

‘Energy payments help, but how much will our bills go up?’: Your response to Budget 2023

We asked The Journal readers to tell us their stories and share their thoughts on the Budget. Would the measures make any real difference to your lives?

It’s a mixed bag – some said it would bring help or a bit of relief, while others said it would have little or virtually no impact.

Reader Q&A: From rents to tax to pensions, your questions about the Budget answered 

We also asked you for your questions – what parts of the Budget announcement were unclear, complicated, or didn’t make sense?

We received dozens of queries on topics from the renters’ tax credit and fuel allowance to childcare and electric vehicles – and did our best to answer them for you.

‘Life is depressing enough’: Why plenty of people aren’t bothered following the Budget

For a couple of days each year, the Budget dominates the news. But for most of the country, it’s just another day.

The JournalCarl Kinsella visited The Square shopping centre in Tallaght (in a four-seat constituency where Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Green Party and Sinn Féin each hold a footing) to hear from shoppers about their reaction to the Budget.

“Crap, if you’re elderly!”; “Shite”; and “Inoffensive” made up some of the responses, while many said they had paid no attention to the announcement.

“I don’t hope for anything because I know I’m not going to get anything,” one woman summed it up.

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About the author:

Lauren Boland

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