A Budget for all kids, your pocket and our planet
Today’s Budget includes far-reaching measures to improve children's lives, to combat the cost-of-living crisis as well as significant environmental initiatives.
Among the most significant Green Party-inspired measures are a commitment to cut childcare costs by another 25pc next September. This means the cost of childcare will have been halved over the last two budgets.
A new €3.1bn climate and nature fund will use windfall corporate tax profits to fund future commitments to the environment. The fund is the centre piece of the Green measures contained in this year’s progressive Budget. Other measure include €450 worth of energy credits for all households, cheap transport fares for 24-year-olds and 25-year-olds, relief on VRT for electric cars and a €400 income tax benefit for householders with solar panels who sell power back to the grid.
The State will set aside cash to continue building vital infrastructure in the event of another downturn. While most of this money will remain untouched until it is needed, the Green Party has secured a commitment for €3.15bn to be made available between 2026 and 2030 in order to support climate action and nature restoration projects that are not already funded by the National Development Plan.
The decision means that Ireland has moved several steps closer towards its ambition of transforming itself from one of Europe’s environmental laggards to one of its leaders.
The bulk of the other Budget measures will help to reduce the effects of the cost-of-living crisis.
Party leader Eamon Ryan said following the Budget that:
“Halving childcare across two budgets is an indisputably significant move by the Green Party. This is our fourth Budget and I’m proud that, like the other three budgets, Budget 2024 is progressive and helps those most that need help most.
“The Climate fund is also significant because it explains how the measures needed to fight climate change will be paid for in the years ahead. This makes it easier for individuals and business to plan accordingly.”
“Further expansion of the travel card for 24- and 25-year-olds marks the continuing switch towards public transport that we have seen in recent years with cheaper fares and many more routes.
“Protecting people from the cost-of-living measures has always been a Green priority. We want to protect people in a very uncertain time. Having said that, this has been a difficult Budget because the world is in a very uncertain place. A Budget is always a compromise but the art of politics is being able to compromise and getting the balance right in an uncertain world.”
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media, Catherine Martin TD said,
“Budget 2024 brings welcome supports to help the people of Ireland to manage the current cost of living pressures. For my own Department, Budget 2024 maintains and increases funding across a range of initiatives, supporting further growth and development with the important sectors of tourism, arts and culture, Gaeltacht, the Irish language, sport, and media.”
"We are maintaining our commitment to the arts and artists, as well as the growth and development of Ireland’s Audio Visual sector following recent Oscar success. We have increased investment to focus on the participation of women and girls in sport and increased funding in the Irish language and the Gaeltacht across a variety of programmes. We will also continue to support our tourism sector to enable its continued recovery and growth in a sustainable way.”
Among the specifically Green measures introduced today are:
- A special €3.1 billion fund to use windfall profits from corporation tax to protect nature over the rest of the decade
- Young Adult Leap Card – extension to 24-year-olds and 25-year olds with commitment to review further cuts for young peole
- A reduction of the cost of childcare for toddlers by 25pc following a similar cut last year
- The retention of spending on arts and culture at the present record levels
- Help for actors and other creatives by increasing the film tax credit to films with budgets up to €125m
- Abolition of VAT on audio books and ebooks
- Three €150 energy credits – December, Jan/Feb, March/April (one funded out of windfall profit tax on energy companies)
- Extension of relief on VRT for electric vehicles to encourage the transition to electric cars
- Making the first €400 earned by householders from solar power micro generation tax free
- €90m for retro fitting for social housing
- Almost €1m a day for cycle and walk ways
Other measures include:
- Helping children by introducing hot school meals to all primary schools that express an interest
- Introduction of free text books for students studying the junior cycle
- Cutting the cost of college fees for all students and raised grants for Susi students and postgraduates
- Increase foreign aid by 8.4pc so that it represents almost 0.48pc of economic output
- Garda training allowance to increase from €184pw to €305pw
Cost of Living package
- Double social welfare payment (on top of Christmas bonus) – including foster parents
- Bullet payments for recipients of social welfare, including €100 for qualified child allowance (per child) and €400 for working family payment.
- Extension of petrol/diesel excise cut until 31 March with a 50% restoration on 1 April, remainder in August.
- One year extension of VAT cut on gas and electricity.
- €250m package for business supports
- Mortgage interest support - €20% tax relief on uplift in mortgage payment in 2023 vs 2022, subject to a cap of €1,250. Only applies to mortgages with outstanding balance of €80k-€500k. An equivalent social welfare scheme will be designed for non-taxpayers.
- Additional €100 on main tax credits (personal, PAYE, earned-income (self-employed))
- Additional €100 on home carer tax credit
- Additional €200 on incapacitated child tax credit
- Additional €2,000 on standard-rate cut off point
- Additional approx. €3000 on floor of 4.5% USC rate
- The 4.5% USC rate cut to 4%
- +0.1% PRSI increase to pre-fund future pension costs starting in Autumn 2024.
Housing and Property
- Vacant homes tax increased from three times LPT liability to five times
- Rent tax credit increased from €500 to €750
- Landlord's tax credit - €600 year 1, €800 year 2, €1,000 years 3 and 4. Will be “clawed back” if landlord evicts tenant within four-year period. Goal is to stabilise rental market.
- Zoned-land tax – Date of implementation delayed from February 2024 to February 2025.
- Improvement to VAT refund scheme for charities
- Bank levy – increase from €87m to €200m
- Packet of cigarettes to rise by 75cents
Social Welfare – core rates and children/families
- Additional €12 to core social welfare rates
- Additiona l€4 to the increase for a qualified child
- Additional €54 to working family payment thresholds
- Extension of hot school meals programme to non-DEIS schools that have expressed an interest
- Extension of parents benefit from seven weeks to nine weeks
- Some small improvements for people with disabilities/carers