BUDGET 2014 – Summary

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Minister Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin have presented Budget 2014 with free GP cards for children under five, steep hikes in the price of alcohol and cigarettes and cuts to pensioners allowances, central to this years package.
While there are to be no changes to the weekly old age pension payments, the monthly telephone allowance for pensioners is being scrapped.
Income thresholds for full medical cards for those over the age of 70 is being reduced by 100 euro per week – a move which it is estimated will see 35,000 pensioners being downgraded to a GP only card.
Despite speculation to the contrary the free travel allowance for pensioners remains as do gas and electricity allowances but presicption charges will increase to two euro fifty.
If you are newly unemployed and under the age of 26 your dole payment is being reduced.
Bad news too if you fall sick, you will now not receive any illness benefit from the state until you are six days away from work, that’s doubled from three days.
There are no changes to child benefit payments this year, however maternity benefit is being cut or standardised to 230 euro per week for all.
In the classroom pupil-teacher ratios will remain unchanged and a rent a book scheme is being reintroduced in primary schools.
There’s good and bad news for home owners, mortgage income supplements are being abolished from January but if you are having home improvements carried out, you’ll be able to claim back a 13.5 per cent credit on work costing between five and thirty thousand euro.
A new banking levy aimed as raising 150 million euro is to be introduced. Savers will be hit with increases in DIRT tax, up from 33 to 41 per cent, while there will be increases too in capital gains and capital acquisitions tax
A raft of new measures aimed at tackling the shadow economy have also been signalled.
These will target VAT fraud, illegal tobacco selling and unlicensed trading in alcohol.
The so called old reliables don’t escape either, 10 cent is to be added to a pint of beer, cider and a standard measure of spirits, while 50 cent will be added to a bottle of wine.
10 cent will be added to cigarettes from midnight but motorists got off scott free with no changes to petrol or diesel. Home heating oil and gas prices remain the same.
Despite fears that a gradual increase in VAT would be introduced for the hospitality sector, the 9 per cent rate announced last year is to remain in place.
To further support the travel and tourism sector, Air travel tax is to be reduced to zero from April next year provided airlines develop new routes
As previously signaled 200 million euro from the sale of the national lottery will go towards the building of the new national children’s hospital, but it was announced today that the remaining 200 million will be used to support local job creation programmes such road maintenance and repair works, and the building of a new national indoor training arena at the national sports campus


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