Helping you get through tough times

What the 2014 budget means for you

Just hearing the word ‘budget’ can be enough to make you want to go and take a very large nap. With all the suits and percentages being thrown around, it’s not exactly riveting stuff. However, it is important to know how changes in the budget affect you so that you can plan accordingly.

Photo by Fiach O'NeillMinister for Finance Michael Noonan says the purpose of the budget is to secure recovery and to attract the young people back home again. But we take a look at the real effects budget 2015 has for young people, still living here.

Some of the changes announced in the budget come into effect immediately. Others take effect from the beginning of January 2015 or in mid-2015. Many others have to be finalised before coming into effect.

Social welfare

There are no changes to the rates of primary weekly social welfare payments.
There will be a doubling of JobsPlus places from 3,000 to 6,000 to incentivise employers to hire long-term unemployed people from the Live Register. Employers can receive up to €10,000 in monthly cash grants over 2 years for each eligible employee.
A new JobsPlus strand for young people will be launched in 2015 under the Youth Guarantee.
The rate of Child Benefit will increase by €5 to €135 per month for each child from January 2015.
A Christmas Bonus of 25% will be paid this December to people getting a long-term social welfare payment (minimum payment of €20) to help with costs over this period.

Pay-packets

Incomes of €12,012 or less will be exempt from USC. Once your income is over this limit, you will pay the relevant rate of USC on all of your income.
Standard rates:
€0 to €12,012 @ 1.5%
€12,013 to €17,576 @ 3.5%
€17,577 to €70,044 @ 7%
€70,044 to €100,000 @ 8%
PAYE income over €100,000 @ 8%
Self-employed income over €100,000 @ 11%.

Studying

The student contribution charge for college will remain the same.

Under the Student Grant Scheme, students will get four months of maintenance payments before the end of December and five months of payments in the following year.

New education posts will be created. There will be 900 new classroom teachers, 480 new resource teachers and 365 new Special Needs Assistant (SNA) posts.

Doctors and medicine

General practitioner (GP) care will be free for children aged six years or younger.
Prescription charges will stay the same.

Children

Child benefit will increase by €5.
Families with twins receive one and a half times the normal monthly rate for each child.
Families with multiple births receive Child Benefit at double the normal monthly rate for each child.

Out and about

The 9% VAT (value added tax) on tourism and hospitality sectors will stay the same.
Pints of beer and cider, measures of spirits and wine will stay the same.
Roll your own tobacco will cost an extra 20c.
Packets of 20 cigarettes will cost an extra 40c.

For a full list of budget changes, please see the Department of Finance website, budget.gov.ie. You can find a summary of the social welfare changes on the Department of Social Protection’s website, welfare.ie.

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