Who gets what? A look ahead to Budget 2017

Shane Coleman looks at the numbers

Who gets what? A look ahead to Budget 2017

Michael Noonan holds a copy of the Comprehensive Expenditure Report at Government Buildings in 2015 | Image: RollingNews.ie

Tuesday is B-Day as we learn what is contained in the Budget for the upcoming year.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan will take to his feet in the Dáil to present the first Budget from the new Government at 1.00pm.

Mr Noonan says the emphasis will be on "continuing to build a very strong economy so that we have the resources to spend money on improving the public services - and also to give some reductions in personal taxes". 

A USC cut and childcare subvention payments will form a significant part of the package, according to Newstalk Breakfast presenter Shane Coleman.

"We can expect a little, like The Late Late Show line, 'something for everybody in the audience'," he says. 

"There's not a huge amount of money to spend - though it has expanded a little bit in the last week or so. It's gone from €1bn to €1.2bn. That'll be divvied up 2:1 - spending versus tax cuts.

"So instead of putting a large amount of money into one thing like childcare or heath or education, I think what you'll see is it'll be spread quite thinly over things.

"You will see some tax cuts, you see a measure there for first-time buyers, and you'll see some increases in targeted welfare payments - but nobody's going to get a huge amount, cause there just isn't the money to do that."

Middle-low income earners

"You'll see a cut in the USC rates. The expectation is the three USC rates will be cut by half a percentage point each.

"In terms of childcare you will see a direct subvention payment to childcare providers for people earning slightly less than €50,000.

"It'll benefit lower earners. It won't benefit that much the squeezed middle, or certainly people at the higher end of the squeezed middle."

First-time buyers

"This help-to-buy scheme is effectively a tax refund.

"There's a ceiling on the price of the house you can buy - €400,000 - and the maximum tax rebate over a couple of years will be €20,000.

"Whether or not it's a good idea is another question altogether, with some people quite rightly saying that it'll just go into the price of the house."

Pensioners

Coleman says we will "definitely" see an increase in the old-age pension with the only question being when.

This is seen as a red line issue for Fianna Fáil, who want to see a €5 increase.

"There is a question mark as to whether or not they should be the group that are being focused on," Coleman continues. "It is very arguable that pensioners were the group that were most protected during the austerity cutbacks.

"Politically they are a group that votes in large numbers, so there will be a desire to look after them.

"The debate now is when can they do it in the year. It's not affordable to do it in January; politically, it's probably not a runner to do it in June. So there'll be some compromise - probably March or April - between the two parties."

Political support

"There's a couple of question marks over the arithmetic in the Dáil.

"If Fianna Fáil abstain, it will mean that the Government have to get a couple of extra votes from somewhere - so they'll be talking to some Independents.

"One way or another, I'd be amazed if they didn't have the votes."

Young people and the unemployed

"Education is something we don't know a lot about as to what the package will be there. So that will be one we'll be watching with interest."

On increased dole rates for the unemployed, Coleman says "that is not going to happen".

Brexit

"The best way of Brexit-proofing the Budget I think would be to do nothing," Coleman argues.

He says that the sense of uncertainty means "the sensible thing to say would be 'we're not going to do anything this year'".

But he also expects there to be one or two surprises in store:

"Before every Budget we always say 'we know absolutely everything that'll be in there,' and then there is one or two surprises. I don't think those surprises will be that fundamental - but I wouldn't rule out something."

For Coleman, areas such as small business and increasing the inheritance tax threshold are things to look out for.

We want to know what are the issues that affect you? Tweet us using #MyBudget and tell us what you think needs to happen on Budget day.