Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has unveiled the government’s Budget for 2021. Here are some of the main points and highlights of the budget.
- An additional €4 billion has been allocated to the Irish health service. This will provide the capacity to carry out 100,000 Covid-19 tests per week.
- It will also provide an additional 1,146 acute beds, an increase of ICU beds from 255 to 321.
- €38 million for mental health services.
- Five million additional home care hours.
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- The teacher student ration will be reduced to 25:1.
- 300 new teaching posts.
- A dedicated €50 million fund to help third-level students during the pandemic.
- 50,000 further education and training places.
- €500 million for the development of 9,500 new social houses.
- €22 million for homelessness programmes.
- The Help To Buy scheme will be extended.
- Businesses closed because of Covid-19 will be able to get rebated for a maximum of €5,000 a week. Businesses must be able to demonstrate that their turnover has been significantly impacted to make a claim.
- A reduction in the VAT rate for the hospitality sector from 13.5% to 9%.
- A new version of the Wage Subsidy Scheme to begin after the current scheme ends in spring.
- €55 million dedicated to tourism business support schemes.
- No changes to income tax, USC or PRSI rates.
- Carbon tax will be increased by €7.50 per tonne, from €26 to €33.50.
- Tax on a packet of cigarettes will rise by 50c.
- Some changes to the Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) based on emissions – aim is to incentivise people to buy lower emission cars.
- Pension age to remain at 66 years of age.
- Self-employed people on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be able to earn €480 a month without losing their unemployment payment. This is due to come into effect shortly.
- Illness benefit is now available after 3 days out of work. It used to be six days out of work.
- The Living Alone Allowance has increased from €14 to €19 per week.