Cigarette price hike, parental leave for fathers and child benefit increase in this year’s budget

Cigarette price hike, parental leave for fathers and child benefit increase in this year’s budget

The price of a box of cigarettes will go up by a whopping 50c in this year’s budget, according to reports in the Irish Independent.

Increases in child benefit and the introduction of free pre-school for children aged between three and five years are expected to be announced by Michael Noonan, today.

The old age pension is to be raised by €3 a week, there is to be an increase to the fuel allowance and a larger than expected Christmas bonus.

This means a single pensioner will have an extra €300 while a couple will get almost €640.

The Budget will also include:

  • A €550 per year tax credit for the self-employed.
  • An increase to the inheritance tax threshold from €225,000 to €280,000.
  • An entrepreneurial package aimed at attracting emigrants home, and tax breaks for microbreweries.
  • A review of mortgage lending rules.
  • Two weeks of parental leave for fathers.
  • The delivery of 20,000 homes by 2020 through Nama.
  • The €2.50 prescription charge for medical cards and the €100 A&E fee will be frozen.
  • The full restoration of the respite grant for carers.

The changes to the tax system will see middle-income earners take home an extra €1,000. Cuts in the USC combined with a rise in the minimum wage will see workers in that category benefit by €700 a year.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has already signalled that the USC will be axed altogether by the end of 2020, if the Coalition is re-elected.

Reports indicate that Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has secured funding for at least 600 additional gardaí, with the positions advertised in the coming weeks.

A multimillion euro package for garda overtime, as well as funding for additional staff in the courts service and the charity's regulator, has also been agreed.

Her budget also includes monies for a new operation to tackle the epidemic of rural crime which will be announced in the coming days. The details of the plan are still being finalised.