With just hours left until the Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath take to their feet in the Dáil chamber to commend Budget 2023 to the house, much of the final shape of the document has been agreed. Here is what you can expect in Today’s €10bn budget.
The Government will roll out a package worth up to €3bn in a bid to help people with the cost-of-living crisis. This will see an energy rebate announced to be paid in three installments of €200 this year and next.
A double payment of child benefit will be made before Christmas, as well as a one-off cost-of-living payment in
October or early November for those on social welfare supports, similar to the annual Christmas bonus, which will cost the state around €300m.
Childcare costs will come down by around €170 per month. This will be done by expanding the rate of the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) from 40c per hour to €1.40 per hour.
This will bring costs down for parents by €170 if they use registered providers for the full eight hours a day.
Core rates of welfare will increase by €12 across the board at a cost of around €900m a year, with a double payment to come in the next few weeks. There will be an expansion of the fuel allowance and a one-off payment of €500 to carers.
This is one of the more contentious budgets. Health Minister Stephen Donnelly looks likely to have to delay a move eliminating hospital charges which may not be introduced until some point next year. However, Mr Donnelly has won approval for a multimillion euro fund for publicly funded IVF treatment.
One key move will be a tax credit for renters, which will see €500 returned to them. The help-to-buy scheme will be extended for a further two years and a vacant homes tax will be introduced.
There are two schemes to support businesses to be announced. One allows businesses to receive up to €2m in financial aid. A second scheme will be targeted at SMEs which will cover 40% of the increase in electricity or gas bills, up to a maximum of €10,000 per month per business.
A key plank of the Government’s approach will be to increase the entry point to the higher tax band to around €40,000. The 9% VAT rate on hospitality will return to 13.5% in February. There will be tweaks to the USC and PRSI to account for a higher minimum wage.
The tax-free allowance for bonuses from employers will go to €1,000. There will be a 50c excise hike on a pack of 20 cigarettes, but no increase for alcohol due to minimum unit pricing. The VAT on newspaper sales will drop to 0%.
Public transport fares will remain cut by 20% for the entirety of 2023, along with €1m a day in funding to develop greenways and other walking and cycling amenities and €10m for school transport fuel subsidies.
Government sources say that Education Minister Norma Foley has secured funding of €47m for a scheme to make school books free for all primary school children from next September.
She has also secured a commitment to bring pupil-teacher ratios down to 23:1 and an expansion of the number of seats available on the school transport scheme.
A further 370 special education classes will be created, with additional recruitment of SNAs (special needs assistants) and SENOs (special educational needs organisers).
In Higher Education, Minister Simon Harris has won an immediate €1,000 cut in fees, with guarantees that those from families on less than €62k will not pay over €1,500 per year.