We have the main points of the Budget from the Dáil and from the press briefings giving more detail on Budget 2016.
Tax cuts, welfare increases, a new childcare package and a freezing of the local property tax are among the main components of Budget 2016.
Here are the headline changes in the Budget:
* The top rate of USC will go from 7% to 5.5%, the middle will fall from 3.5% to 3% and the lower rate will stand down from 1.5% to 1%.
* Children will be eligible for free childcare from age of 3 until the age of five-and-a-half or until they start school.
* Two weeks’ paid paternity leave, from September 2016.
* Child benefit will rise by €5
* Free GP care for under 12s
* A €3 rise in pensions
* Christmas bonus up by 75% for social welfare recipients
* An extra 600 Gardaí and 2,260 teachers
* Commercial motor tax rates to be cut with 20 rates being replaced by five ranging from €92 to €900, current maximum is €5,195.
* A 50c rise in the minimum wage from €8.65 to €9.15 per hour.
* The 9% VAT rate on the Hospitality Sector will be maintained.
A new weekly tapered PRSI credit of €12 is being introduced for employees insured at Class A whose earnings are between €352.01 and €424 in a week. A similar PRSI credit will apply to Class E and Class H employees with weekly earnings between €352.01 and €422 or €424, respectively.
The maximum PRSI credit of €12 per week applies to gross weekly earnings of €352.01. A person earning €352.01 pays €14.08 PRSI (4%). After the €12 credit is deducted they will pay PRSI of €2.08.
For people earning between €352.01 and €424, the credit of €12 is reduced by one-sixth of earnings over €352.01. For example, a person earning €377 would get a PRSI credit of €7.83 – this is one-sixth of the difference between €377 and €352.01 subtracted from the maximum credit of €12. There is no PRSI credit once earnings exceed €424 (January 2016). This provision will reduce the weekly PRSI bill for over 88,000 employees.
The lower 8.5% Class A rate of employer PRSI will apply to weekly earnings up to €376. This threshold will increase from the current €356 (January 2016). This provision will benefit 26,000 employers. These PRSI provisions will cost €21 million in 2016.
The excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes is increasing by 50 cent (including VAT) with a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products, with effect from midnight on 13 October 2015.
The rate of Motor Tax is being reduced for all vehicles above 4,000kgs, with a new annual rate of €500 for vehicle between 4,000kgs and 12,000kgs and €900 for vehicles over 12,000kgs.