The budget unveiled on Tuesday in Ireland encompasses a range of measures designed to provide financial relief and support to different segments of the population. Notably, it allocates a lump sum payment of up to €10,000 to small and medium-sized businesses as part of its effort to bolster Main Street enterprises.
In terms of income taxation, the budget raises the income threshold at which workers enter the higher tax rate to €42,000. Additionally, it incorporates a 0.5% reduction in the Universal Social Charge (USC) rate, bringing it down to 4%. The USC’s 2% band ceiling is set to rise by €2,840 to €25,760, and the earned income tax credit will climb by €100 to €1,875.
For parents, the budget presents a 25% reduction in childcare costs, following a similar reduction in the previous year, easing the financial burden on families.
Struggling mortgage holders are offered targeted interest relief, benefiting up to 165,000 households with variable and tracker mortgages, potentially receiving up to €1,250. However, this relief is expected to be temporary, applying only for the year 2024.
Social welfare recipients will see an increase of €12 per week in all payments starting from January. Moreover, individuals receiving carer’s allowance, disability allowance, and fuel allowance will be granted a €400 lump sum payment.
The budget includes several measures related to education, including the expansion of free schoolbooks to secondary school pupils in the Junior Cycle, an extension of the hot meals program to 900 schools, and a reduction in college fees for undergraduate students from families with an income of less than €100,000, lowering the fees to €1,500.
In terms of transportation, the budget extends a 50% reduction in public transport fares to young people up to the age of 25.
Around 130,000 businesses, encompassing sectors such as creches, local shops, and hairdressers, are set to benefit from one-time financial assistance. These companies may potentially receive up to €10,000 to cover up to 50% of their rates.
Furthermore, a new multi-billion infrastructure fund is to be established, funded by income generated from corporation taxes. This fund is aimed at safeguarding and investing in the country’s future.
The budget also addresses the housing sector, with renters set to receive an increased tax credit of €750, up from €500 introduced the previous year. Landlords will receive a modest tax break, with income of €3,000 taxed at 20% in 2024, increasing in subsequent years.
To alleviate the cost of living, the budget allocates nine lump-sum cost-of-living payments totalling over €1.2 billion. These payments encompass various areas, including childcare, disability support, and fuel allowances, and are intended to assist families and households through the winter months.
In summary, the budget aims to tackle a range of financial challenges faced by individuals, families, and businesses in Ireland. It takes into account various economic factors and government spending priorities to provide targeted relief and support across different sectors of society.