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€1bn of new spending, tax cuts expected in today’s Budget

Budget 2022, which will be announced this afternoon by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, followed by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath is expected to be a €4.7bn package – with €1bn in new spending and half a billion euro in tax cuts.

An increase of €5 in the main weekly welfare payments and the State pension are set to be announced in Budget 2022.

The weekly fuel allowance payment is also set to rise by €5 and this change will take effect from tonight.

Thousands more carers are in line to receive the Carer’s Allowance under changes expected to be announced in the Budget.

The means-test for this allowance will be broadened in the first major reform of this payment in over a decade.

It follows extensive negotiations between Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys and Minister McGrath.

The Back to School Allowance is likely to be increased by €10 while more lone parents will also be eligible to receive it.

The double payment of welfare allowances at Christmas has also been agreed.

Plans to freeze childcare fees are likely to be revealed today and an earlier commitment to provide free GP care to children aged under eight looks set to be delivered in this Budget.

The cost of public transport is likely to fall for those aged 19 to 23 years with half price fare on the way for this group from the middle of next year.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has got approval to recruit an additional 800 gardaí and 400 civilian staff.

There will also be a 20% increase in the Garda Mountain Bike unit.

The unit will be deployed in Dublin and other urban centres to support high visibility policing.

In education, it is anticipated that the average teacher pupil ratio in primary schools will be reduced from 25 to 24 pupils.

Another change will see the Domiciliary Allowance paid for children who are in hospital for a period of six months, which is up from three months at present.

Maternity Benefit and Parental Leave payments are also set to increase by €5 per week.

A €2 million fund to assist community safety projects will also be established.

A package of €13 million has been agreed to tackle domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.

There is also likely to be an announcement of a pilot scheme to provide a basic income for artists, while the live events sector looks set to get €25 million in support next year.

Further measures to reduce the cost of living are likely to include changes to the Drugs Repayment Scheme.

The maximum amount someone will pay for approved prescribed drugs will be cut from €114 a month to €100.

There is also likely to be moves to cut the cost of hospital charges for children.

More than €100 million more will be made available for disability services in the Budget.

The total number of extra Special Needs Assistants set to be announced today is likely to be around 1,200.

Some €40 million will be set aside to market Ireland overseas as a tourist destination.

Article Source – €1bn of new spending, tax cuts expected in today’s budget – RTE – Mícheál Lehane

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