The key points of today's Budget compiled by RTÉ

Housing

A total of €1.83 billion has been allocated to housing in Budget 2018, with 3,800 new social houses to be built by local authorities and approved housing bodies.

The Housing Assistance Payment Scheme will increase by €149m. Funding for homeless services will increase by €18m to more than €116m.

4,000 extra social housing units to be delivered next year.

Commitment to accelerate the delivery of social housing from 2019.

Extra €500m for direct building programme to see 3,000 additional new build social houses by 2021.

Additional €75m of funding for second phase of Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund.

€750m to be made available for commercial investment in housing finance.

The level on stamp duty on commercial property transactions will rise from 2% to 6% from midnight.

The vacant site levy will double from 3% in the first year to 7% in second and subsequent years.

New house-building entity to boost construction.

Recruitment

Additional 1,300 teaching posts next year to reduce the primary pupil teacher ratio to 26:1.

€1.7 billion invested in special education, with more than 1,000 new Special Needs Assistants being recruited before September 2018.

Additional 800 gardaí to be recruited during 2018. Another 500 civilians to be hired also.

Health allocation includes additional 1,800 staff in frontline services across acute, mental health, disability, primary and community care sectors.

Health

Reduction in prescription charges for all medical card holders under 70 from €2.50 to €2 per item. The monthly cap drops from €25 to €20, with the threshold for the Drugs Payment Scheme dropping from €144 to €134.

Increase of €685m in allocation to the Department of Health, brings total funding to almost €15.3bn next year.

Social welfare payments and allowances

From last week of March, €5 per week increase in all weekly social welfare payments, including disability allowance, carer’s allowance, Jobseekers’ Allowance and State pension.

Christmas bonus payment of 85% to be paid to all social welfare recipients in 2017.

€20 increase in the earnings disregard for the One Parent Family Payment and Jobseekers’ Transitional scheme.

The threshold for the Family Income Supplement will rise by €10 per week for families with three children. €2 per week rise in the rate of the qualified child payment.

There will be a €2.50 increase in the Telephone Support Allowance for those receiving the Living Alone and Fuel allowances.

The home carer credit will rise by €100 to €1,200.

Tax and USC

Point at which income earner attracts higher rate of income tax to rise next year by €750 per annum.

Entry point for single earners to increase from €33,800 to €34,550.

Targeted changes to USC to reduce rates but do not narrow the USC tax base.

Entry point to USC to remain at €13,000.

2.5% USC rate to be reduced to 2% with the ceiling for the new rate increased from €18,772 to €19,372.

5% USC rate reduced to 4.75%.

A working group will be set up over the coming year to plan the amalgamation of the USC and PRSI over the medium term.

The Earned Income Credit for the self-employed will rise by €200 to €1,150 a year.

Reduction in seven-year period for owners to enjoy full relief from Capital Gains Tax to four years.

Mortgage Interest Relief

Mortgage interest relief will be cut next year in a move that will affect about 300,000 homeowners. The relief for people with loans from 2004-2012 is being continued to 2020 but at just 75% the rate in 2018, 50% in 2019 and 25% in 2020.

Sugar tax 

From April 2018, 30 cent per litre of tax on drinks with over 8g of sugar per 100ml. Reduced rate of 20 cent per litre on drinks with between 5g and 8g of sugar per 100ml.

Old reliables

The excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes will rise by 50 cents. 

VAT on sunbeds

The VAT rate on sunbed services is to increase from 13.5% to 23%.

Electric vehicles

There will be €17 million for the Renewal Heat Incentive and to incentivise an increase in electric vehicles. There will also be a 0% Benefit-in-Kind rate for electric vehicles alongside the VRT relief and SEAI grant.

Brexit

Brexit Loan Scheme announced to assist SMEs.

VAT

The VAT rate on the tourism and services sector will remain.

Rainy Day Fund

Rainy Day Fund to be established in the coming year, with at least €1.5 billion transferred to it from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. 

Budget 2018: Updates from RTÉ

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