Budget 2018 provides highest ever spending on health and education


The first set of measures in six years not to be put together by Limerick TD Michael Noonan, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe this Tuesday delivered the second budget of the 32nd Dail, with spend topping €60bn.

Total expenditure in 2018 will amount to just over €60.9 billion - or €12,700 for every person in the country.

Outlining the near billion euro package of tax and spending, Mr Donohoe said: "We redouble our efforts to rise to the challenges that exist while mapping out our national response to the new risks but also to the new opportunities of tomorrow".

The esthablisment of a "rainy day" fund with €1.5 bn to be transferred from the Ireland Strategic Investment fund.

Addressing the homelessness crisis, the minister announced an allocation of €1.83bn for housing in 2018.

The vacant site levy, due to take effect from 2019, will increase from 3% to 7% in 2020.

The Minister wants an increase in the Value-Added Tax rate for sunbeds, as a health protection measure.

He pledged 1,800 new staff across front-line HSE services.

There will be a sugar tax introduced on fizzy drinks and cigarettes are to increase by 50 cent for a packet of 20.

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As expected, a sugar tax has been introduced in this year's budget meaning fizzy drinks etc will be affected. Measures focused on housing will establish a new agency to lend to construction companies, allowing them to partially fund projects in a more cost effective way. The aim is to bring the ratio of student to teacher down to 26:1.

-Additional 1,000 SNA positions by September 2018.

An additional 500 civilians are also to be hired into the force.

-Two free pre-school years per child.

For workers, 2 USC rates have been lowered and income tax bands have been raised. A new 2% rate will kick in at €19,372, up from €18,772, so minimum wage workers will not pay the upper rates.

Meanwhile the 5% rate will drop to 4.75%.

-Most social welfare payments to get five euro increase by next March.

Also, people who use a company vehicle which is electric will enjoy a 0% benefit-in-kind rate.