#Budget2018: Social welfare increase on cards as Budget day arrives

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

Welfare rise key: Limerick TD Willie O'Dea

Welfare rise key: Limerick TD Willie O'Dea

RISES to the pension and welfare rates are two measures local people are likely to see in Budget 2018.

There could also be a marginal reduction to the unpopular Universal Social Charge, and other income tax reductions in Finance Minister Pascal Donohoe’s first budget, which will be announced this Tuesday.

It is the first set of estimates in six years not being delivered by the former Finance Minister, veteran Limerick TD Michael Noonan who retired from cabinet this year.

There have been suggestions that social welfare payments will rise by €5 a week, meaning the rate of a contributory pension will become €240 every seven days.

Fianna Fail TD Willie O’Dea says this is a priority.

“I'd be looking for an increase in social welfare for the people who are the worst off in the country. Everything is going up - car insurance, home insurance, council rents etc. They would need at least €5 a week of an increase to help them to meet all the costs,” he said.

Elsewhere, it looks like the inheritance tax threshold will increase, with government previously committed to increasing the threshold passed on from a parent to a child to €500,000. There will likely be a rise, although it’s unlikely to go that high.

The tax strategy group suggested an increase of up to €1 excise on tobacco. Mr Donohoe could follow through on this.

In terms of other excise duties, an incentive to encourage people to opt for an electric car could be on the cards.  There has also been a suggestion the government may bring in a sugar tax, something initially suggested by local TD Patrick O’Donovan.

It is likely that the long-awaited Limerick to Cork motorway is also set for a budget boost, with funding to allow the project to progress further along the planning stage possibly included.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar – who originally scrapped the scheme in 2011 – is now strongly behind the link.

He has said the link could be finished as early as 2022, a year before Ireland potentially hosts the Rugby World Cup.