Imagine a budget that would benefit those that are worse off, a budget that puts both its citizens and the economy first.
Look no more, the Republic of Ireland have done just that.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has announced the new Republic of Irelands 2023 budget and it’s a joy to see.
Coverage of the budget can be found on RTÉ One, RTÉ Radio One and RTÉ News Now via catch-up.
Also announced was a payment of child benefit which will be paid before the end of the year.
Carers and people with disabilities are expected to receive a one-off €500 payment.
Other social welfare recipients will receive a double welfare payment in the weeks after this budget has been announced. A Christmas bonus payment will also be paid in December.
Pensioners will be receiving one-off payments of up to €1,100 before the end of the year.
A double payment of the €253 per week state pension will be paid twice, once soon after the Budget announcement and another in December.
Pensioners that are in receipt of the Living Alone allowance will also receive a separate €200 payment. Those claiming a Fuel Allowance are also in line for a single €400 lump sum on top of their usual payments.
All households in the republic will receive a €600 electricity bill credit, this will be paid in either two or three instalments. Energy bills will not be capped.
The already existing Fuel Allowance scheme will now be extended to up to 80,000 people who currently did not qualify for payments.
This will ensure that approximatley 450,000 people will now be able to claim for the Fuel Allowance over the coming months.
Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman announced that he has secured significant funding which will provide a State subvention for creche costs. This could save families up to around €170 a month.
Under the budget changes there will be the re-introduction of a tax credit for citizens that rent their homes. This will bring the total of amounts given to €1,000.
Ministers have are also implementing two credits of €500, one of which will apply this year and the second next year.
Also included are a two year extension of the Help to Buy scheme that gives a tax rebate of €30,000 to first-time buyers.
Whilst the Republic doesn’t have the NHS, the government does recognise the need for everyone to be able to access their GP
As it stands half of the Republics population will already have access to a free GP visit card or medical card. This has now been expanded by the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.
Donnelly has successfully secured Budget funding to expand the free GP visit card to an additional 430,000 people.
This will result in around 2.5 million extra citizens, thus enabling the new recipient’s access to free GP services.
Also announced in Tuesday’s Budget are plans to abolish hospital charges for all adults.
Included in the budget also are plans to abolish hospital charges for children under 16 making it a much fairer system and assessable to all.
The higher tax rate of 40% will now apply only to earned income of over €40,000. This move will put an estimated €800 into the pocket of a single earner and €1,600 for a couple. Proving to be one of the biggest tax cuts in recent years.
The second USC band will also be increased to €10,908 from €9,283 keeping in mind the increase in the minimum wage for workers.
Meanwhile, personal tax credits for carers will also increase by €100 to €1,700.
Businesses haven’t been forgotten in their budget either.
Some businesses will get up to €10,000 a month paid in their electricity or gas bills as part of the €1bn scheme to be announced in todays Budget.
Small to medium enterprises will have 40% of their energy cost increases in electricity or gas bills and will be paid up to a maximum of €10,000 per month.
The Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS) will also be backdated to Septembe and ran until February. This will be administered by Revenue Commissioners.
A separate €200m scheme has also been announced, this scheme will see businesses being able to receive up to €2m in financial aid.
The Enterprise Ireland scheme will be aimed at companies that are involved in exporting and manufacturing.
To receive this help businesses will have to produce a business plan that shows clearly how they will get through the crisis and control their energy costs.
The two new schemes will also be backed up a low-cost loan.
No changes will be made to the inheritance tax ceiling.
There will also be no changes to Capital Gains Tax arrangement, rates and rules.
Extra funding will be funding for 1,000 new gardaí to begin training in Templemore next year.
There will also be 400 new Garda staff to be employed which will help free up frontline gardaí for core policing duties. Also included will be an increase in overtime to help gardaí tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
The VAT rate for the hospitality industry will increase from the pandemic reduced rate of 9pc to 13.5pc at the end of February which will be significant blow for pubs, restaurants and hotels.
Students will see their fees cut, they will also see an increase in their grants.
Third-level fees are to be cut by €1,000 this year, with a once-off double payment of the student grant also included in this Budget.
This will mean that no one will pay more than €2,000 to attend third-level education for the coming term.
Those studying for PHDs will get a once-off cost-of-living payment before Christmas.
There will also be a new free schoolbook scheme for children in primary school is to be introduced. Student/teacher class ratios will also be reduced.
An extra €2.5m to support the Irish summer colleges sector.
This will include a 10% increase in the subsidy per child for mná tí, who provide meals and accommodation for Irish students.
The 20% reduction in public transport fares will continue until the end of 2023.
Whilst it’s difficult to compare the UK to the Republic of Ireland’s government, it’s clear to see that they have recognised the need for extra financial help for its citizens.
This budget announcement shows that the Republic acknowledges that for a country to grow economically and is going to invest in it’s citizens. Not only are they investing financially, they’re also investing in the well-being of the population.
Although this might not appear a lot to some it will help those worse off financially to access medical help. This can only be a good thing.
A country that fails to invest in its citizens like the UK will ultimately end up failing financially. A good healthy economy is needed to ensure the smooth running of everything, and to do that financial help is needed for those worse off especially during the cost of living crisis and beyond.
The reputation of Brand UK has been permanently tarnished, leaving investors forced to move away and look to countries such as the Republic of Ireland as a safer bet.
The UK deserves better than this.
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