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Budget 2022: €1.5bn in spending to address rising cost of living

Budget 2022 will see 800 new Gardaí recruited, a €5 a week increase in the fuel allowance ...
Sean Defoe
Sean Defoe

07.25 12 Oct 2021


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Budget 2022: €1.5bn in spendin...

Budget 2022: €1.5bn in spending to address rising cost of living

Sean Defoe
Sean Defoe

07.25 12 Oct 2021


Share this article


Budget 2022 will see 800 new Gardaí recruited, a €5 a week increase in the fuel allowance and a 50c rise in the minimum wage.

Much of the €1.5bn in additional spending and tax measures will be aimed at addressing the rising cost of living.

Last year the Government's plan was a COVID-19 survival budget.

This year, while COVID is still there, it is much more about the rising cost of living - especially energy prices.

A €5 a week increase in the fuel allowance, bringing it to €33 a week, was among the last measures agreed on Monday.

The increase will be made available from midnight tonight in an unusual move for welfare measures, while thousands more people will be made eligible for the fuel allowance.

Other measures that will impact people's pockets include a €7.50 a tonne carbon tax increase, which will make petrol and diesel more expensive from midnight.

Filling a tank of diesel will cost around €1.50 more, with €1.30 added to a tank of petrol - while a bag of coal will cost around 90c more.

Social welfare

There will be an increase of €5 a week on the State pension and across most core social welfare rates.

There will be targeted increases to some payments - including a €10 rise in the back-to-school allowance.

Changes are being made to the income disregard for the carers allowance, which the Government hopes will bring thousands of hidden carers into the net for benefit payments.

While the period of time the Domiciliary Care Allowance can be paid for is to double from three to six months.

Minister Heather Humphreys has created a new system which will allow people who lose their hair due to cancer, or conditions like alopecia, to claim a grant towards treatment or things like wigs.

A pack of 20 cigarettes will cost 50c more after the budget, with a pro-rata increase for other tobacco based products.

But excise on alcohol is being left alone this year, in part not to further impact the tourism and hospitality sector.

Arts

Minister Catherine Martin has secured a €100m package for her department to assist the live events sector in recovering post-COVID.

This will include money to scale up festivals, for digitisation of advertising and an overseas marketing grant to attract tourists to events here.

There will also be a fund run by Fáilte Ireland for the training and upskilling of staff in the service industry in a bid to help restaurants, hotels and cafes to hold onto staff.

Minister Martin has also secured a pilot basic income guarantee programme for artists.

This is a scheme that would provide an unconditional basic payment from the State, and was a recommendation of the Arts Recovery Taskforce.

There will be a €25m live entertainment support fund to encourage gigs.

While there will be money to ensure equal grant funding for male and female GAA players. Previously it was a 3:1 split in favour of the men's game.

Transport and housing

Minister Eamon Ryan has secured a new travel pass that will give young people aged between 19 and 23 half price public transport.

The student discount will also be increased to 50% across services like the DART, Luas, InterCity trains and the bus network.

The measure will start halfway through next year and is expected to cost €25m for 2022.

The Green Party minister will also announce a €200m home retrofit scheme, which will be split between free upgrades and grants towards insulation, heat pumps and solar panels.

The budget will also include a loan guarantee scheme which will reimburse financial institutions for any losses made on loans they have given out for energy upgrades.

It is hoped this will give banks and credit unions more confidence to lend to finance energy upgrades.

Money will be given to the Department of Justice for the recruitment of 800 new Gardaí in 2022.

While 400 additional civilian staff will also be recruited, bringing the number in the force to 3,800 - its highest ever level.

There will also be a 20% increase in the Garda Mountain Bike Unit in a bid to increase presence and tackle crime in urban areas.

A €2m Community Safety Innovation Fund is being set up to mark the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Criminal Assets Bureau.

While there will be a €13m package to tackle domestic, sexual and gender-based violence - including €1m of additional funding for the Divisional Protective Services Units of An Garda Síochána.

The Department of Housing will be given a €600m increase in its budget to begin implementing the 'Housing for All' plan.

And €194m will be allocated to homeless services in 2022, a decrease on the €218m budgeted last year.

Department of Housing sources say last year was an exceptional one in having to respond to COVID-19, and point out the 2022 budget is €28m higher than the budget 2020 allocation.

Tax changes

On the tax side the Help-to-Buy scheme is being extended by a year at its current rate.

The rate at which people pay the higher band of income tax is also being raised from €35,300 to €36,800 - which would be worth €8 a week to someone on the higher rate of tax.

That measure alone will eat up the vast majority of the €500m available for tax cuts in the budget.

The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme will be extended into the first quarter of 2022 for businesses still facing a significant fall in revenue due to the pandemic.

While an increase in the minimum wage is also expected.

Along with a continuing budget for COVID-19, there will be a significant package towards the reduction of health service waiting lists and money towards providing free contraception for young women.

Little is expected to change in the agriculture budget, with the €600m worth of CAP farm schemes from last year set to roll-over.

The SUSI student grant is in line for its first increase in more than a decade.

While around 1,000 new Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) will be recruited by the Department of Education.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will announce his budget from 1.00pm.

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Budget 2022 Carbon Tax Christmas Bonus Cost Of Living Eamon Ryan Free Contraception Fuel Allowance Help To Buy Scheme Loan Guarantee Scheme New Gardaí Paschal Donohoe Public Transport Social Welfare Rates Wage Subsidy Scheme

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