Budget 2015 | Overview of Measures Announced

People with disabilities want to be and must be empowered to live with independence, choice and dignity in their own communities and it is disheartening that Budget 2015 shows no signs of securing or protecting that right.

Below is an overview of the key measures introduced in the Budget yesterday: for more commentary on these announcements, please go to our press release.

Health

  • €13.1 billion going to Health in 2015
  • €635 million increase in Health spending in 2015
  • €3 billion for older people and disability services
  • €35 million allocated to mental health and suicide prevention services
  • €25 million set aside for delayed discharges
  • €12 million going to Early School Leavers
  • €6 million assigned to Services for Children and Young People Programme
  • Introduction of free GP care for those aged over 70 and under six
  • Prescription charges frozen at €2.50 per item
  • Threshold for Drug Payment Scheme unchanged
  • Income threshold for medical cards and GP Visit cards untouched
  • Changes to guidelines for discretionary medical cards so that more people with profound illness will receive them

Social Protection

  • €19.4 billion allocated to Social Protection in 2015
  • No increase to Disability Allowance, Carers Allowance, Domiciliary Care Allowance or other payments
  • Christmas bonus, worth 25% of the weekly payment, introduced for long-term social welfare recipients, including those above
  • Living Alone Allowance increased by €1.30 to €9 a week for people with disabilities and elderly people who live alone
  • Increase of €5 to Child Benefit from January 2015, bringing it to €135 a month per child
  • Free Travel Scheme maintained
  • Electricity and gas allowances, as well as Free TV Licence, unchanged

Employment and Job Creation

  • €285 million provided for the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
  • €1.6 billion assigned to creating 300,00 work and training placements under the Pathways to Work programme
  • €12 million allocated to new employment support programme, Jobpath
  • 6,000 positions provided for under the JobsPlus programme
  • Low Pay Commission to be established in 2015
  • New Back to Work family dividend introduced for unemployed households with children

Education

  • €60 million to be invested in current education funding
  • 1,700 new full-time teaching posts created, made up of 920 mainstream teachers, 480 resource teaching positions and 365 Special Needs Assistants (SNAs)
  • €6 million added to the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy
  • €26 million going to Túsla, the Child and Family Agency
  • Third-level Student Contribution increased by €250, bringing it to €3,000
  • School Meals Programme increased by €2 million, bringing it to €39 million
  • Current 270,000 further education and training placements maintained

Tax

  • Entry rate for Universal Social Charge (USC) upped from €10,000 to just above €12,000, with upper ceiling for first band of USC brought to just over minimum wage level
  • USC band rates reduced from 2% to 1.5% and from 4% to 3.5%
  • Standard rate band of income tax increased by €1,000 to €33,800
  • Taxes on petrol and diesel remain untouched
  • No changes introduced to Vehicle Registration Tax or Motor Tax

Housing

  • €800 million assigned to social housing in 2015, amounting to €2.2 billion over the next three years
  • 400 new housing units to be provided for people with specific needs
  • €1 million funding assigned to provision of 150 new community units for people with disabilities leaving institutional care
  • €40.4 million going to 7,600 new Housing Adaptation Grants for older people and people with disabilities
  • Capital gains tax relief removed
  • Refund of Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) of up to 20% of purchase price introduced for first-time buyers until end of 2017
  • Home renovation incentive to be extended to rental properties, applying to work done by the end of 2015

Water Charges Support

  • €25 per quarter to be paid to people with disabilities, carers and pensioners receiving the Household Benefits Package
  • Fuel Allowance increased by €100 for those not receiving the Household Benefits Package to support with water services
  • Income tax relief, worth a maximum of €100 per household a year, introduced on standard rate water charges of up to €500 a year

 

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