Budget 2017 the main points

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe delivered his maiden budget speech yesterday, Tuesday, and set out the first set of budgetary measures from the government under the leadership of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Mr Donohoe announced €1.2 billion in new spending and tax cuts, the main points of which are as follows:
Personal taxation and welfare:
*The point at which people enter the higher, 40 per cent rate of income tax will rise from its current level of €33,800 by €750 for a single person to €34,550.
*The 2½ per cent Universal Social Charge (USC) rate is being cut to 2%, and the ceiling for this new rate is rising from €18,772 to €19,372. The 5 per cent rate will be lowered to 4.75 per cent.
*All social welfare payments, including the State pension, will increase by €5, beginning at the end of March, 2018. The social welfare Christmas bonus will be paid at 85 per cent of its usual rate.
*For self-employed taxpayers, the earned income credit will increase by €200, bringing it to €1,150 per year from next year.
*The home carers’ tax credit will increase by €100 to €1,200 per year.
*Prescription charges are to be reduced for everyone with a medical card under the age of 70 from €2.50 to €2 per item, and the monthly cap for prescription charges will decrease from €25 to €20. The threshold for the drugs payment scheme will fall from €144 to €134.
*The One Parent Family Payment and the Jobseekers’ Transitional scheme will rise by €20 per week; the threshold for receipt of the Family Income Supplement rises by €10 per week for families with up to three children; and the weekly rate of the qualified child payment is going up by €2 per week. There will be a Telephone Support Allowance of €2.50 per week for those in receipt of both the Living Alone Allowance and the Fuel Allowance.
*The price of a packet of 20 cigarettes and other tobacco products will increase by 50 cent.
* Duties on alcohol have been left unchanged.
*A tax on sugar sweetened drinks will, from next April, be applied at a rate of 30 cent per litre on drinks with 8g of sugar per 100ml. A reduced rate of 20 cent per litre will apply on drinks with between 5g and 8g of sugar per 100ml.