The highly anticipated Budget 2019 was announced on the 9th of October by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe. The Budget included a variety of changes across different sectors, so from housing to healthcare, here’s how it could affect you.
The government has allocated a total of €2.3 billion to the housing programme in 2019; €1.25 billion of which is to be spent on the delivery of new social homes. An extra €121 million will be spent on the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP); this is to provide an additional 16,760 tenancies next year. €60 million extra capital funding has also been budgeted for additional emergency accommodation.
Health funding was increased by €1.05 billion, bringing the overall health sector budget to €17 billion. A €25 increase in the threshold for GP cards means 100,000 more people will now be entitled to free GP visits. The monthly Drugs Payment Scheme threshold has been reduced by €10, bringing it down to €230 and a 50 cent reduction in prescription charges for all medical card holders over the age of 70 was also introduced.
The education budget has been increased by 6.7%; bringing it up to €10.8 billion for 2019. This includes a €50 million investment in upgrading ICT infrastructure in schools and an additional €196 million in capital expenditure for the creation of 18,000 permanent school places and 5,000 replacement places. An additional 950 special needs assistants and 372 teachers are also set to be hired to cater for the growing number of pupils.
Social welfare recipients are set to see a €5 increase in their weekly social welfare payments from March 2019; there will also be a 100% Christmas bonus paid in early December. Fuel allowance is to be increased by a week, bringing it to 28 weeks, starting this year. Qualifying families will also receive a €25 increase in the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance for each child.
The income thresholds for the Affordable Childcare Scheme are set to increase late next year. The base income threshold is going from €22,700 to €26,000 and the maximum threshold will go from up from €47,500 to €60,000. The multiple child deduction will also see an increase from €3,800 to €4,300. Paid parental leave will be increased in November 2019 to provide two extra weeks’ leave to every parent of a child in their first year. The Government intends to increase this to seven extra weeks over the coming years.
The 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector has been brought up to 13.5%, this will increase the price of Irish hotel stays, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas. The price of cigarettes has also been brought up by 50 cents.
Now that you’re up to date with Budget 2019, how will it affect your personal finances? Remember, you can apply for a credit card or loan to buy a car, a holiday, or even education with Chill Money.