Budget 2018: Main Points So Far

Paschal Donohoe the finance minister was in budget negotiations with his Fianna Fáil counterparts yesterday

MINISTER FOR FINANCE Paschal Donohoe has announced a reduction in rates of the Universal Social Charge (USC) and a rise in the point at which you get charged the higher rate of income tax.

The budget will amount to €60.9 billion for 2018.

He said the budget "will deliver this government's long-held directive of broadly balancing the books".

€1.7 billion invested in special education, with more than 1,000 new Special Needs Assistants being recruited before September 2018.

A "Rainy Day Fund" is to be established in the next year with € 1.5 billion being transferred from the Ireland Strategic Investment fund to start it off.

There'll be a €5 increase per week in all weekly social welfare payments, which will take effect from the last week of March 2018.

There are modest income tax cuts, a sugar tax on fizzy drinks and cigarettes are to increase by 50c for a packet of 20.

Increase of €685m in allocation to the Department of Health, brings total funding to nearly €15.3bn next year.

An additional 1,800 staff in frontline services across acute, mental health, disability, primary and community care sectors.

Teaching jobs will be increased by 1,300 to reduce the student to teacher ratio to 26:1.

A 30c per litre sugar tax on drinks with over 8g of sugar per 100ml, and a 20c per litre tax on drinks containing 5g to 8g of sugar per 100ml.

There will be 800 extra gardai and 500 extra civilians for the force.

Brexit Loan Scheme for SMEs announced - €300 million will be available to them at competitive rates.

The Minister for Finance has defended his decision to reduce both USC rates and change tax bands so that fewer people will pay the top rate.

Entry point to the USC remains at € 13,000. €2 per week rise in the rate of the qualified child payment.

The 5% USC rate will be lowered to 4.75%.

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