Dec 8, 2005

Irish Budget 2006 highlights

The annual budget was announced today - critics see it as a vote winning exercise. There were some attempts to help with childcare - but probably not enough. Maybe they should be looking at why people need childcare - because of the overall cost of living both parents need to work.

Overall spending
- Public spending to rise next year by ?5bn, with day to day spending to grow to ?48.3bn
- Capital spending will come close to 5% of GNP

- A 5-year investment programme ? ?317m being invested initially with a further ?600m afterwards
- Monthly child benefit rate for the first and second child to increase to ?150, the rate for third and subsequent children to increase to ?185
- An extension to the current 18-weeks maternity leave, and the rate of maternity benefit to increase from 75% to 80% of earnings

- Tax relief package of ?900 million, all those on the current minimum wage to be taken out of the tax net, all those on the average industrial wage will only pay the standard rate
- Tax relief to be capped for those with an income over ?250,000
- Tax relief for horse and greyhound stud fee incomes will end in July 2008

- The full personal rate of old age and related pensions to rise by ?14 per week, an increase of almost 8%
- Non-contributory pensions to rise by ?16 per week, an increase of 9.6%

Social Welfare
- Welfare package of ?1.12bn
- Personal weekly social welfare rates to be increased by ?17 per week, bringing the lowest full personal social welfare rate up 11% to ?165.80 per week

- Rise in the rate of the National Fuel Scheme from ?9 to ?14 per week
- Excise duty on home heating oil to be halved from midnight tonight

- An increase in Respite Care Grant to ?1,200

- An enhanced Carers Allowance rate of ?200 per week for people aged 66 or over and ?180 for people under the age of 66

- ?1.2bn for third level education
- ?3.9bn capital funding for education sector over 5 years

IOL: Budget 2006 highlights

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