THIS year’s Budget has been labelled ‘a giveaway’, though it appears most of the concessions by the government are modest ones.
If not that, then they are so thinly spread as to make little difference to anyone.
In the area of personal taxation, in an income tax package worth close to €520 million, the standard rate band will increase by €1,500 and will also see the increase of each of the personal tax credits, employee tax credits and earned income credits by €50.
Meanwhile, a full-time worker on the minimum wage will remain outside the top rates of the Universal Social Charge and the ceiling of the second USC rate band will be increased from €20,687 to €21,295.
Workers will be able to earn €36,800 before hitting the top rate of income tax, up from €35,300. Also, the income tax credits to rise by €50.#Budget2022.
— Charlie Weston (@CWeston_Indo) October 12, 2021
The exemption from the top rate of USC for all medical card holders and those over-70 earning less than €60,000 is also being retained.
Remote workers can claim an income tax deduction amounting to 30% of the cost of vouched expenses for heat, electricity and broadband “in respect of those incurred while working from home”.
Among the headline items in the social welfare space are a €5 increase in main weekly welfare payments; Back-to-School Allowance set to increase by €10 and double payment of welfare allowances at Christmas.
A provision of €100 million is to be made available for disability services, while the maximum amount for approved prescribed drugs is to be cut to €100 per month.
The State pension is to increase by €5 per week, as will the weekly fuel allowance with hints of an energy crisis in the air.
What they giveth with one hand, they taketh with the other, however, as an increase in the carbon tax of €7.50 per tonne to €41, is going to result in a rise in petrol and diesel prices.
A 60-litre fill of petrol will cost about €1.48 extra while a full tank of diesel will cost an additional €1.28.
However, young people, aged 19-23, including students will be eligible for 50% discounts on public transport.
From January 2022, a revised VRT table will apply on new car sales. There’ll be a 1% increase for vehicles that fall between bands 9-12, a 2% increase for bands 13-15 and a 4% increase for bands 16-20.
The €5,000 relief for Battery Electric Vehicles will be extended to the end of 2023 to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles.
Ahead of the finance minister’s speech, the ceann comhairle Sean O Fearghail’s appeal for details of the Budget not to be revealed outside the Chamber were greeted with hoots of laughter.
— Paul Cunningham (@RTENewsPaulC) October 12, 2021
Maternity benefit and parental leave payments are to be increased in this budget and more good news for families is that thousands more carers will be in line to receive a Carer’s Allowance.
There is to be a €25 million fund to establish a basic income scheme for artists – a sector hit especially badly by the pandemic.
With the tourism sector also badly impacted by Covid-19, some €40 million is being allocated to market Ireland overseas as a tourist destination.
Also the reduced 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector will be retained until August 31 2022 – good news for the many businesses in the sector in Clare.
To encourage housing development, a zoned land tax will be introduced which it is hoped will deter hoarding of land.
In the public service, there are plans to recruit an additional 800 gardaí and 400 civilian staff.