Budget 2017 Main Points

Social welfare payments and the State pension are to increase by €5 per week and the three lowest rates of the Universal Social Charge are to fall by 0.5 per cent as part of the budget package for 2017 announced by the Government.

The details are being set out by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe in the Dáil.

The only taxation increase is an extra 50 cent being added to the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes.

The excise on alcohol and fuel is being left unchanged.

Cuts to USC, pension increases and a new childcare package are among the main components of Budget 2017.

THE MAIN POINTS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

Reduction in the Department of Finance’s growth forecast to 3.5%
GDP growth of 4.2% in 2016 and 3.5% in 2017
New help-to-buy scheme for first-time buyers
Rent a room income ceiling to be increased by €2,000 a year
A 0.5% cut in the three main rates of USC
DIRT to be cut by 2% each year for next four years
Cigarettes to be increased by 50 cent on pack of 20
€1.9bn increase in spending in 2017
2,400 extra teaching posts and 800 new Gardaí
Pension up by €5 per week from March

* Minister Paschal Donohoe says there will be a new round of Sports Capital Grants in 2017
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* There will be €15m to progress procurement of National Broadband Plan, to provide high speed broadband to areas of rural Ireland
* Capital budget across all departments will go up by €400m to €4.5bn

* There will an extra €28m for Justice, meaning 800 new Garda and an additional 500 civilian staff to be hired
* Christmas bonus to welfare recipients will be at 85% of weekly payment this year

* Pension will be raised by €5 per week from March
* The Jobseekers’ allowance will also rise in line with other social welfare payments by €5 per week.
* Increase in third level funding of €36.5m
* Minister announces an increase in funding of €458m funding for Education for 2017 to €9.5bn
“There is no element of our national life that has not been transformed by the increased educational attainment of our people,” he said.
* This will include 2,400 extra teaching posts of which 900 will be resource teachers
* The Minister is reducing the €25 cap on prescription charges for the over 70s to €20 with effect from March 1.