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News : Irish Last Updated: Dec 19th, 2007 - 13:17:15


Budget Ireland 2007 - Tax Allowance, Social Welfare and Summary of other Changes
By Finfacts Team
Dec 6, 2006, 17:07

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 CLICK for Main Finfacts Budget Page

Minister for Finance Brian Cowen

Budget 2007 tax and social welfare changes.

INCOME TAX CHANGES

Personal Tax Package

The main elements, including associated costs, of the personal tax package and welfare which take effect from 1 January 2007, are as follows:

 

Changes to Income Tax Full Year Cost

€m

Personal Credits increased by €130 single/€260 married to €1,760 single/€3,520 married
Employee Tax Credit increased by €270 to €1,760
625
New Standard Rate Bands from 1 January 2007: 365
  Current  Proposed
Single  €32,000 €34,000
Married One Income €41,000 €43,000
Married Two Incomes €64,000 €68,000
Higher Rate reduced by 1%  42%  41% 186
Age Exemption Limits (single/married) increased from €17,000/€34,000 to €19,000/€38,000 27
Other Credits from 1 January 2007: 17
  Current Proposed
Widowed person €500 €550
Widowed parent:  
  Year 1  €3,100 €3,750
  Year 2  €2,600 €3,250
  Year 3  €2,100 €2,750
  Year 4  €1,600 €2,250
  Year 5 €1,100 €1,750
Blind Persons:
Single €1,500 €3,000
Married (both blind)  €3,000 €3,520
Incapacitated Child €1,500 €1,760
Age Credit:
Single €250  €275
Married  €500 €550
Health Levy threshold increased from €440 per week to €480 per week 44
Rate increased by 0.5% to 2.5% for earners whose income is in excess of  €1,925 per week (€100,100 per annum) (34)
PRSI threshold increased from €300 per week to €339 per week 32
Total 1,262

OVERALL SUMMARY 

  • Mortgage interest relief for first-time buyers to be doubled to €8,000 for a single person
  • Paid maternity leave is increased by 4 weeks to 26 weeks
  • Unpaid leave is also being increased by 4 weeks, to 16 weeks
  • Three existing child dependent allowances replaced by new standard rate of €22 per child, per week
  • Cost of 20 cigarettes to rise by 50 cents from midnight, raising€112m
  • Contributory pension rises to €209.30 per week, non contributory pension rises to €200 per week
  • VRT to be changed from 2008 to reward lower emissions vehicles
  • Motor tax to be 'rebalanced' to reward lower emissions vehicles
  • Top tax rate reduced to 41 per cent
  • Lower (20 per cent) tax band widened by €2,000 a year to €34,000
  • Income tax entry point raised to €17,600 (equivalent to €8.65 per hour
  • Personal tax credit by €130 to €1,760 a year
  • Tax changes to cost Exchequer €1,250m
  • In 2007 economy will grow by 5.25 per cent
  • Unemployment will remain at 4.4per cent in 2007
  • Inflation expected to be 2.6 per cent next year - Cowen
  • Government plans 1.2 per cent surplus in 2007
  • Overall spending to grow by 11.5 per cent in 2007
  • Capital spending to grow by 13 per cent next year
  • Widowed person's tax credit increased by 10 per cent to €550 per annum
  • Extension of business support grants for 7 years to encourage enterprise
  • Increase in small company liability threshold from €50,000 to €150,000
  • €70 million tax credits for investment in research and development
  • Sports clubs purchasing land for sporting activities to be exempt from stamp duty
  • €270 million allocated to buy carbon allowances up to 2013
  • €10 million for Local Government fund for cleaner water projects
  • New mandatory labeling system for car emissions
  • Greener homes scheme funding to be increased by €20m until 2009
  • Sustainable Energy Ireland to get €3 million for renewable energy research
  • Grant aid for biofuel producers
  • Excise on kerosene to be abolished
  • Farming reliefs renewed and extended
  • Measures to encourage the transfer of farms to younger farmers
  • €1.4bn social welfare package, brings overall social welfare spend to €15.3b
  • Annual respite care grant rises by €300 to €1,500
  • Disability sector gets €100m for residential respite and day places
  • €255m for homecare packages, home help hour and respite care
  • 0.5 per cent increase in health levy on earnings over €100,000
  • Extra health spending brings annual spend on sector to almost €15bn
  • Minister for Health to restrict sales of cigarette pack sizes less than 20
  • Mortgage interest relief to apply to buyers in the first seven years of their loan
  • Child benefit will be increased by €10 per month for each of the first and second qualifying children to €160 per month

OTHER INCOME TAX

Mortgage Interest Relief

The current annual ceiling on the amount of interest that can be allowed on a mortgage is being doubled for first-time buyers from €4,000/€8,000 single/married to €8,000/€16,000 single/married. The increased relief will be available to all first-time buyers who are in the first seven years of their mortgage.

The ceiling for non-first-time buyers is also being increased, from €2,540/€5,080 single/married to €3,000/€6,000 single/married.

The cost of these measures is estimated to be €50 million in 2007 and €70 million in a full year.

Business Expansion Scheme (BES) and Seed Capital Scheme (SCS)

The Business Expansion Scheme is being renewed from 1 January 2007 for a seven year period to 31 December 2013. The BES company limit is being increased from its current level of €1 million to €2 million, subject to a maximum of €1.5 million to be raised in a twelve month period. The investor limit is being increased from its current level of €31,750 to €150,000.

To provide sufficient time for BES designated funds to raise finance from investors, it is intended to provide that, where any amount raised by a Designated Fund up to 31 January 2007 is invested in qualifying companies before 31 December 2007, the individual investors who subscribed to the funds will have the option of claiming tax relief on their investment for either the 2006 or 2007 tax years. Similarly, in the case of direct investment by investors in qualifying BES companies, where eligible shares are issued before 31 January 2007, the investor will have the option of claiming tax relief on their investment for either 2006 or 2007.

The Seed Capital Scheme is also being renewed from 1 January 2007 for a seven year period to 31 December 2013. The SCS permits employees who leave employment to invest in certain new businesses and take up a job in the relevant business to claim a refund of tax for up to the previous six years. An unemployed person or a person who was made redundant may also claim the relief. The level of an individual’s tax refund depends on the level of the investment and the amount of tax the individual has paid in previous years.

The new BES limit of €2 million will also apply to the SCS, subject to a maximum of €1.5 million to be raised in a twelve month period. The investor limit is being increased from its current level of €31,750 to €100,000.

As the BES and the SCS are State aids, the continuation of the schemes and the proposed changes will require the approval of the European Commission and will be subject to assessment by the Commission under the new “Community Guidelines on State Aid to Promote Risk Capital Investments in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises” (2006/C194/02) published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 18 August 2006.

Further technical amendments will be brought forward in the Finance Bill.

The cost of these measures is estimated to be €18 million in 2007 and €25.4 million in a full year.

Allowance for Rent Paid by Certain Tenants

The maximum level of rent paid for private rented accommodation on which tax relief can be claimed, at the standard rate of tax, is being increased for those aged under 55 years of age, from €1,650 to €1,800 per annum for a single person and from €3,300 to €3,600 per annum for widowed and married persons. This equates to a tax credit of €360 per annum for single persons and €720 for widowed and married persons. For those aged 55 years and over, the maximum level of rent paid on which tax relief can be claimed is being increased from €3,300 to €3,600 per annum for a single person and from €6,600 to €7,200 per annum for widowed and married persons. This equates to a tax credit of €720 per annum for a single person and €1,440 per annum for widowed and married persons.

This measure is estimated to cost €2.5 million in 2007 and €3.5 million in a full year.

Childminding Relief

Budget 2006 introduced an exemption of up to €10,000 per annum on income from childminding where an individual minds up to three children, who are not their own, in the minder’s own home. If childminding income exceeds this the total amount is taxable, as normal, under self-assessment. The €10,000 limit is being increased to €15,000.

The cost of this measure is estimated to be €1.4 million in 2007 and €2 million in a full year.

Taxation of Unemployment Benefit – Systematic Short-Time Workers

The special tax exemption for unemployment benefit paid to systematic short-time workers is being extended indefinitely.

This will cost an estimated €0.7 million in 2007

Rent-a-Room Scheme

From 1 January 2007, it is proposed to close off use of the Rent-a-Room Scheme where the rent received is from connected persons who in turn are claiming rent relief.

It is estimated that this measure will yield €0.2 million in 2007 and €0.2 million in a full year.

Increase in the Specified Rates for Preferential Home Loans and Other Loans

An employee in receipt of a preferential loan is charged income tax on the difference between the interest actually paid and the amount which would have been payable at the “specified” rates of interest for the loans. To reflect increases in interest rates, the specified rate in respect of home loans is being increased from 3.5% to 4.5% and the specified rate in respect of other loans is being increased from 11% to 12%. These changes will take effect from 1 January 2007.

The expected yield from this measure is €3 million in 2007 and €4 million in a full year.

DIRT Administration Change

DIRT can currently be refunded to an individual who is exempt from income tax if the person or the person’s spouse is over 65 years of age or permanently incapacitated. The rules relating to such individuals are now being changed so that in future they may notify their financial institution of their status and receive the interest without deduction of DIRT.  These changes will be included in the 2007 Finance Bill.

This measure is Exchequer neutral as it is an administrative change.

Administrative Changes to help Taxpayers Claim Reliefs

A number of changes in administrative procedures are being introduced which will make it easier for taxpayers to claim reliefs to which they are entitled. For 2007 all age-related tax credits will, where possible, be credited automatically to the taxpayer where a verified date of birth can be established through Revenue or Social Welfare records. A system will be implemented to credit tax relief on trade union subscriptions automatically, based on trade union membership lists. For 2008 it is planned to move, where possible, to automatic repayments in respect of non-reimbursed hospital expenses, prescribed drugs pharmacy costs and certain tuition fees to the extent that this is possible using information from appropriate third parties. 

Tax relief due on medical insurance paid by employers that has been subject to benefit-in-kind taxation will be automatically included in the employee tax credit. Work will be progressed on applying similar procedures in due course to nursing home and other medical expenses that qualify for tax relief.

Threshold for Tax Clearance Certificates

The transaction threshold which triggers the requirement for a tax clearance certificate for the award of a public sector contract or grant is being increased from the current €6,500 to €10,000, with effect from 1 January 2007. The new threshold will be provided for in Department of Finance circulars to be issued shortly.  The circulars will also set out updated procedures for the operation of the tax clearance system.

PRSI CHANGES

Employee PRSI annual ceiling

As from 1 January 2007, the PRSI contribution ceiling will increase from €46,600 to €48,800.

This is in accordance with the assumption made for PRSI income as set out in the Estimates for the Public Services. 

Employee PRSI weekly threshold

As from 1 January 2007, the employee weekly threshold for liability to PRSI will increase from €300 to €339.

This will cost €29.3 million in 2007 and €32 million in a full year.

EXCISES

Tobacco Excise

The Excise Duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes is being increased by 50 cents (including VAT) with a pro-rata increase on the other tobacco products, with effect from midnight on 6 December 2006.

This measure is estimated to yield €2 million in 2006 and €112 million in 2007.

Reduction in Excise Duty for Home Heating Oils (Kerosene & LPG)

The Excise Duty on Kerosene is being reduced from €16 per 1,000 litres to zero. The Excise Duty on LPG is being reduced from €10 per 1,000 litres to zero. These reductions are effective from 1 January, 2007.  This follows through on the commitment in last year’s Budget when these rates were halved.

The cost of this measure is estimated to be €24 million in 2007.

Introduction of a VRT Relief for Electric Cars

A VRT relief of 50% for electric cars – cars which can be propelled solely by a rechargeable battery – is being introduced on a pilot one year basis, with effect from 1 January, 2007. Further details will be provided in the Finance Bill.  

The cost of this measure is unlikely to be significant.  

Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) - Public Consultation

It is planned to change the current VRT system to take greater account of environmental issues, in particular Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions. A public consultation will be undertaken in this regard with a view to making such a move with effect from a target date of 1 January 2008. Submissions are invited from interested parties by 1 March 2007.

Submissions are also being invited from interested parties, by 1 March 2007, in relation to the rebalancing of annual motor tax to provide an incentive for the motoring public to drive cleaner cars and to impose penalties in respect of cars with higher (CO2) emission levels.

VAT

VAT Registration Thresholds for SMEs

The VAT registration thresholds for small businesses are being increased from €27,500 to €35,000 in the case of services, and from €55,000 to €70,000 in the case of goods. These increases will take effect from 1 March 2007. This will reduce the administrative burden for small businesses and the Revenue authorities. It could remove some 8,000 companies from the VAT net.

The cost of this measure is estimated to be €35 million in 2007 and €53 million in a full year.

VAT Cash Accounting Threshold

The annual VAT cash accounting threshold for small firms is being increased from €635,000 to €1,000,000 with effect from 1 March 2007. This will simplify administration and reduce working capital requirements.

This measure will result in an estimated once-off cash flow cost of €35 million in 2007.

Less Frequent VAT Returns for Small Businesses

The frequency of VAT payments, currently six per year, for smaller businesses is being reduced with effect from July 2007. For businesses with a yearly liability of €3,000 or less, the option of filing returns on a half-yearly basis will be available. For businesses with a yearly liability between €3,001 and €14,400, the option of filing returns every four months will be available.  This will reduce compliance costs for the firms in question.

This measure will result in an estimated once-off cash flow cost of €49 million in 2007.

VAT Relief for Conferences

A specific measure which will allow deductibility of VAT on conference-related accommodation expenses will be introduced during 2007. Full details of the measure will be set out in the Finance Bill.

The cost of this measure is estimated to be €5 million in 2007 and €8 million in a full year.

Reduction of VAT rate on Child Car Seats

The VAT rate on child car seats will be reduced from 21% to 13.5% with effect from 1 May 2007. The option of cutting the rate to zero is not permitted under EU Law.

The cost of this measure is less than €0.25 million.

Review of VAT on Property Transactions - Public Consultation

The Revenue Commissioners, over the last two years, have carried out a review of the current system of applying VAT on property transactions. The review recommends significant changes to the system. The complexity of this area of taxation needs to be addressed, but given its importance, it is planned to engage in a wide consultation process with interested parties before deciding on any changes which might appropriately be implemented in the 2008 Finance Act.

Further information, including an invitation for submissions from interested parties, will be made available by mid-December on the Department of Finance’s website, www.finance.gov.ie  and on the Revenue Commissioner’s website, http://www.revenue.ie/.

FARMER TAXATION

Farmers’ VAT Flat-rate Addition

The farmers’ VAT flat-rate addition is being increased from 4.8% to 5.2% with effect from 1 January 2007. The flat-rate is designed to recoup non-VAT registered farmers for the VAT they incur on their inputs.

The cost of this measure is estimated to be €13.5 million in 2007, and €16 million in a full year.

Livestock VAT Rate

The rate of VAT charged by registered farmers and other businesses on the supply of livestock, live greyhounds and the hire of horses remains unchanged at 4.8%.

Farmer Stock Relief

The existing general 25 per cent stock relief for farmers and the special incentive stock relief of 100 per cent for certain young trained farmers are being extended from 1 January 2007 for a further two years subject to clearance with the European Commission under State aid rules.

The cost of this measure is estimated to be approximately €2 million in 2007 and in a full year.

Leased Land Exemption

Certain tax exemptions apply for income derived from certain leases of farmland. From 1 January 2007, a new exemption of €20,000 per annum will be introduced for leases of 10 years or more duration. This measure is subject to clearance with the European Commission under State aid rules.

The cost of this measure is estimated to be about €0.5 million in 2007 and €1 million in a full year.

Scheme of Capital Allowances for Milk Quota

The scheme of capital allowances for milk quota is being amended to ensure this relief is available for quota purchased underthenew Milk Quota Trading System.

This measure is expected to be broadly Exchequer neutral. 

Extension of Stamp Duty Relief for Farm Consolidation

Stamp duty relief for exchanges of farmland between two farmers for the purposes of consolidating each farmer’s holdings was introduced on 1 July 2005 for a period of two years.  The relief is being extended for a further two years to 30 June 2009.  The relief will also be extended to qualifying exchanges of land where only one farmer is consolidating his/her holding.  In such cases both farmers can qualify for relief, provided both farmers meet all other conditions of the relief. These changes will be included in the 2007 Finance Bill.  However, commencement of these changes will be dependent on State Aid approval from the European Commission.

The cost of extending this relief is estimated to be €0.4m in 2007 and €0.6m in subsequent years.

Changes to the Stamp Duty Relief for Young Trained Farmers

Stamp duty relief is available for farmers acquiring land, who are aged under 35 and have specific agricultural training.  Amendments are now being made to the education criteria and refunds procedure in this relief.  Firstly, the FETAC Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture will become the new minimum education requirement from 31 March 2008; secondly, the qualifying third-level course titles are being updated; and finally, the refunds procedure is being simplified.  The changes being made to the refunds procedure are as follows:

  • the time limit within which young trained farmers can complete their education following the transfer is being extended from 3 to 4 years,
  • the current requirement for specific minimum education attainments at the date of transfer is being abolished,
  • the requirement that the refund claim be made within 6 months of qualification is also being abolished, and
  • the 5 year period during which a young trained farmer is required to retain and farm the land will commence from the date of the claim for refund.

These changes will be included in the 2007 Finance Bill.

The costs of these changes are not expected to be significant.

Capital Gains Tax Retirement Relief – Disposals of Leased Land

An exemption from CGT applies in the case of individuals aged 55 and over who dispose of qualifying business or farming assets.  In order for a farming asset to qualify under the relief it must have been owned and used for farming purposes for at least ten years prior to disposal.  The relief is now being extended, in certain circumstances, to disposals of land where the land had been leased prior to disposal.  In order for such disposals to qualify under the relief, the following three conditions must be met: (a) the land in question must have been leased for no longer than 5 years prior to disposal, (b) the land must have been owned and used by the farmer for ten years prior to the initial letting of the land and (c) the land must be disposed of to the person who was leasing the land.  These changes will be included in the 2007 Finance Bill.

It is not possible to estimate the cost of this measure but the cost should not be significant.

Capital Acquisitions Tax Agricultural Relief – Off-farm Principal Private Residences

CAT agricultural relief provides relief from CAT on 90% of the value of a gift or inheritance.  In order to qualify for the relief, 80% of a farmer’s total assets (after receipt of the gift/inheritance) must consist of qualifying agricultural assets.  Off-farm principal private residences are not considered such assets for the purposes of this relief.  This provision is now being amended so that an individual may off-set borrowings on an off-farm principal private residence against the property’s value, for the purpose of the 80% test.  These changes will be included in the 2007 Finance Bill.

It is not possible to estimate the cost of this measure but the cost should not be significant.

CAPITAL GAINS TAX

Increase in Threshold for CGT Retirement Relief

An exemption from CGT applies in the case of individuals aged 55 and over who dispose of qualifying business or farming assets subject to certain conditions.  Disposals made to a child or favourite niece/nephew are relieved in full. All other disposals are relieved up to the threshold of €500,000.  This threshold is being increased from €500,000 to €750,000 from 1 January 2007.

The cost of extending this relief is estimated to be €7m in 2007 and €10m in subsequent years.

CORPORATION TAX 

Tax Credit scheme for Research and Development Expenditure

The base year expenditure against which qualifying incremental expenditure on research and development (R& D) is measured under the tax credit scheme is being fixed at 2003 for a further 3 years to 2009. This will provide an additional incentive for increased expenditure on R& D in 2007, 2008 and 2009.  The 2003 base year had originally been fixed for the first three years of the scheme (2004 to 2006) and was due to roll forward to 2004 for the purpose of calculating the 20% tax credit for 2007.

From 1 January 2007, expenditure by companies on sub-contracting R& D work to unconnected parties will qualify under the tax credit scheme up to a limit of 10% of qualifying R& D expenditure in any one year. This is in addition to the existing provision in the scheme in relation to subcontracting to universities.

It will be necessary to inform the European Commission about these changes from a state aid perspective.

These changes will cost €26m in 2007 and €70m in a full year.

Preliminary Tax payment arrangements for Corporation Tax

Small companies have the option of paying their preliminary tax at the lower of 90% of the final liability of the current accounting period or 100% of the final liability of the previous accounting period.  The corporation tax liability threshold for treatment as a small company is being increased from €50,000 to €150,000. This will be effective from preliminary taxpayment dates arising after 6 December 2006.

New or start-up companies with a corporation tax liability of €150,000 or less for their first accounting period will not be required to pay preliminary tax in respect of that first accounting period and will instead be required to pay their final corporation tax liability for that accounting period at the same time as they are required to submit their tax returns (9 months after the end of the accounting period). This measure will come into effect from preliminary tax payment dates arising after 6 December 2006.

These changes will result in a cash flow cost of €1 million in 2006 and a full year cash flow cost of €40 million in 2007.

STAMP DUTY

Stamp Duty on Mortgage Deeds

Mortgage deeds, as with many legal documents, are liable to stamp duty (this is a separate stamp duty from that which is applied to the conveyance of property).  Primary mortgages are currently exempt up to the value of €254,000, and those at higher values are subject to stamp duty of 0.1% subject to a maximum duty of €630 whether in respect of residential or non-residential property. The duty currently applied to collateral or additional mortgages is generally a €12.50 fixed duty and in the case of equitable mortgages and transfers of mortgages, generally 0.05%, subject to a maximum of €630.  The stamp duty head of charge for mortgages is being abolished for mortgage deeds executed on or after 7 December 2006.

The cost of abolishing the mortgage head of charge is estimated at €20m in 2007 and in a full year.

New Stamp Duty Relief for Stock Exchange Members

It is proposed to consider the introduction, in the context of the Finance Bill 2007, of a new stamp duty relief for members of stock exchanges which would consolidate and replace existing reliefs. The new relief for these stock market intermediaries will better reflect modern share dealing practices.  The details of this relief will be outlined in the Finance Bill.

This measure is intended to be revenue neutral.

New Stamp Duty Exemption for Sporting Bodies

A new exemption from stamp duty is being introduced for those sporting bodies covered by Section 235 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, which are already entitled to relief from income tax and capital gains tax, subject to certain conditions.  The exemption will relate to purchases of land for the purposes of promoting games or sports.  The provisions of the exemption will be included in the Finance Bill 2007.

It is estimated that this proposal will cost around €2m in 2007 and in a full year.

CAPITAL ALLOWANCES AND TAX INCENTIVE SCHEMES

Capital Allowances (and Expenses) for Business Cars

The car value threshold for business cars is being increased from €23,000 to €24,000. The new threshold will apply to capital allowances and leasing charges for new and second-hand cars used in the course of a trade, profession or employment.

In the case of corporation tax, the new threshold will apply for expenditure incurred in an accounting period ending on or after 1 January 2007. In the case of income tax, the new threshold will apply for expenditure incurred in the basis period for the tax year 2007 and subsequent tax years.

This increase will cost €2m in 2007 and €3.5m in a full year.

Corporate Tax Relief for Investment in Renewable Energy Generation

The qualifying period for the scheme of tax relief for corporate investment in certain renewable energy projects is being extended from 31 December 2006 to 31 December 2011. The extension is subject to clearance by the European Commission from a State aid perspective, and will come into operation by way of a Commencement Order to be made by the Minister for Finance following such clearance.

The cost of extending this measure is already taken into account in the tax base and is estimated to be €1 million in a full year. 


CLASSIFICATION OF TAX RELIEFS

WHERE TAX EXPENDITURES GO

(LATEST YEAR 2003)

A. Income Tax System – Personal Credits and Reliefs € million € million
1.          Basic Personal Credits   5,009
2.          Personal Reliefs    
Child Benefit                                                              327  
Mortgage Interest 221  
VHI/BUPA etc. 191  
PAYE Expenses 112  
Health Expenses 82  
Other (Trade Union Subs, Rent, Redundancy etc.) 80 1,013
B. Other Discretionary/Incentive    
     
3.          Pensions   2,889
4.          Capital Allowances    

Companies

1,020  

Self-Employed & Farmers

560 1,580
5.          SSIAs   532
6.          Government Saving Schemes   283
7.          Others    

Rented Residential Relief (" Section 23" )

69  

Charities

49  

Profit Sharing Schemes

36  

Artists

22  

Films

25  

BES

17  

Maintenance of spouses

15  

Other (Heritage Items, Stock relief etc.)

108 341
TOTAL   11,647
Note: Any apparent discrepancies in totals are due to rounding of constituent figures.

 EXPENDITURE MEASURES

SOCIAL & FAMILY AFFAIRS

(See also Annex C, where the changes in maximum weekly rates of payment from January 2007 and increases in Child Benefit from April 2007 are shown.)

The total cost of the social welfare improvements is €1,321.82 million in 2007 and €1,406.31 million in a full year.

Social Welfare Weekly Rates

Maximum weekly personal rates for all State and related social insurance pensions will be increased by €16 from the first week of January 2007.  For the State Pension (Non-Contributory), the maximum personal weekly rate will increase by €18 from the first week in January.  Proportionate increases will apply for pensioners on reduced rates.

The maximum personal rate for Death Benefit Pension for recipients aged under 66 will increase by €19.10 per week and all other maximum personal rates will be increased by €20 per week.  There will be proportionate increases for claimants on reduced rates, from the first week of January 2007. 

Maximum Qualified Adult Allowances (QAAs) will be increased as follows:

  • €12.40 per week for State Pension (Contributory), State Pension (Transition) and Invalidity Pensions where the qualified adult is aged 66 or over.  In addition, there is a further special increase for these persons (see item on Pensioners below);
  • €10.70 per week for State Pension (Contributory) and State Pension (Transition) where the qualified adult is aged under 66;
  • €11.90 per week for State Pension (Non-Contributory);
  • €14.30 per week for Invalidity Pension where the qualified adult is aged under 66;
  • €13.30 per week for all other QAA payments.

Proportionate increases will be applied where persons are in receipt of reduced rate QAA payments.

There will also be an increase of €25.20 per week, to €207.80, in the minimum rate of Maternity Benefit and Adoptive Benefit from January 2007.

The above increases will cost €972.75 million in 2007 and in a full year.

Children

Child Benefit will be increased by €10 per month for each of the first and second qualifying children to €160 per month and by €10 per month for each of the third and subsequent qualifying children to €195 per month, effective from April 2007.

All child dependant allowance rates will be increased to a new maximum rate of €22 per week from January 2007.

Family Income Supplement income thresholds will be increased by amounts ranging from €15 to €185 per week, depending on family size, from January 2007.

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance will be increased by €60 to €180 in respect of each child aged 2 to 11 and by €95 to €285 in respect of each child aged 12 to, where appropriate, 22 years, effective from June 2007.

The adult dependant’s income threshold for entitlement to a half rate child dependant allowance in the case of Jobseeker’s Benefit and Illness Benefit is being increased by €50 per week to €400 per week from January 2007.

The Widowed Parent Grant is being increased by €1,300 to €4,000 with immediate effect.

Increased funding of €3 million for the school meals programme.

These measures will cost €209.23 million in 2007 and €243.70 million in a full year.

Pensioners

An increase in the means disregard by €10 per week to €30 per week for the State Pension (Non-Contributory) and an increase in the employment earnings disregard by €100 per week to €200 per week from January 2007.

An additional special increase of a maximum of €11.30 per week in the maximum rate of the Qualified Adult Allowance (where the qualified adult is aged 66 or over), to bring the maximum rate to €173 per week, paid with a State Pension (Contributory), State Pension (Transition) or Invalidity Pension from January 2007.

The Bereavement Grant is being increased by €215 to €850 with immediate effect.

Other miscellaneous enhancements including the provision of an automatic entitlement to a Free Travel Companion Pass to persons aged 66 to 74 inclusive who are medically unfit to travel unaccompanied, from March 2007.

These measures will cost €38.16 million in 2007 and €38.40 million in a full year.

Fuel Poverty

The rate of the National Fuel Scheme will increase by €4 per week, to €18, from January 2007.

The income threshold for entitlement to the fuel allowances will be increased from €51 per week in excess of the State Pension (Contributory) rate to €100 per week in excess of that rate from January 2007.

These measures will cost €35.65 million in 2007 and in a full year.

Supporting Carers

The Respite Care Grant will be increased by €300 to €1,500 from June 2007.

The €290(single)/€580(couple) weekly income disregard for means assessment for the Carer’s Allowance scheme will be increased to €320(single)/€640(couple) respectively, from April 2007.

A new payment, equivalent to half the Carer’s Allowance, will be provided to certain people with another social welfare entitlement from September 2007.

These measures will cost €31.15 million in 2007 and €75.62 million in a full year.

People of Working Age

The upper ceiling for entitlement to tapered qualified adult allowance payment will be increased by €30 to €280 per week from January 2007.

The maximum reckonable weekly earnings threshold for the determination of entitlement to earnings related maternity and adoptive benefits will be increased from €332 to €350 from January 2007.

The upper income threshold for entitlement to the One Parent Family Payment will be increased by €25 to €400 per week from May 2007.

Enhancements to the Rent and Mortgage Interest Supplement scheme including a provision to enable recipients of rent supplement, who have been placed on a Local Authority waiting list for accommodation under the Rental Accommodation Scheme, to take up full time employment and remain eligible for the supplement, from April 2007.

Enhancements to the Back to Education Allowance Scheme including a provision to allow a person who has been made redundant immediate access to the scheme provided that person had an entitlement to statutory redundancy and an entitlement to a qualifying social welfare payment, to be implemented during 2007.

Miscellaneous amendments regarding earnings thresholds and disregards to a number of schemes including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Farm Assist and Deserted Wife’s Benefit, to be implemented during 2007. 

These measures will cost €15.65 million in 2007 and €21.04 million in a full year.

People with Disabilities

An extension of entitlement to the full rate of Disability Allowance to all persons resident in institutions from January 2007.

An increase in the amount of capital disregarded from the means test for Disability Allowance from €20,000 to €50,000 from June 2007.

Additional funds for Comhairle for the development of personal advocacy service for persons with disability and for the implementation of the Disability Sectoral Plan.

These measures will cost €16.48 million in 2007 and €16.90 million in a full year.

Improved Services and Communications

The Family Support Agency will be provided with additional funding for marriage, child and bereavement counselling and other services.

Additional funding is being provided for Entitlement Awareness campaigns.

Funding is being provided for once off grants to carers’ organisations.

These measures will cost €2.75 million in 2007 and €2.25 million in a full year.

ENTERPRISE, TRADE & EMPLOYMENT

FAS Allowances

Increases in FAS allowances, in line with those for social welfare recipients, are being implemented from January 2007.

This will cost €44.2 million in 2007 and in a full year.

HEALTH & CHILDREN

Care of Older Persons

The provision of additional home care packages, an expanded home help service, additional residential care beds, improvements to palliative care services and day/respite services, and the enhancement of support available under the Nursing Home Subvention Scheme.

These measures will cost an estimated €205m in 2007 and €255m in a full year.

Services for Persons with a Disability

The provision of additional residential, respite and day places, as well as an expansion in home support and personal assistance.

The appointment of extra front-line staff to enhance the level and range of multi-disciplinary support services available to adults and children with intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities and those with autism, with a priority on enhancing the assessment and support services for children with disabilities in order to underpin the commencement of Part 2 of the Disability Act 2005 from 1 June 2007.

These measures will cost an estimated €75m in and in a full year.

Mental Health Services

The provision of additional community based mental health facilities, including mental health day centres, day hospitals and community residential facilities.

The appointment of extra front-line staff to enhance the level and range of multi-disciplinary support services available to adults and children with mental illness in order to support the continued implementation of A Vision for Change.

Additional funding to support the continued implementation of Reach Out – National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention 2005 – 2014.

These measures will cost an estimated €25m in 2007 and in a full year.

Primary Care

The appointment of additional front-line staff to support the roll out of an extra 100 primary care teams in development, as well as the provision of additional funding to support the development of a structured Chronic Disease Management Framework.

This measure will cost an estimated €16m in 2007 and €25m in a full year.

Social Inclusion

Additional funding to support implementation of the National Drugs Strategy, to improve front line service responses to domestic violence, increase the number of sexual assault treatment centres, expand services in relation to HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, and improve health services for Travellers.

These measures will cost an estimated €14m in 2007 and €15m in a full year.

Health Allowances

Increases in line with those for social welfare recipients are being implemented from January 2007.

This will cost €7.7 million in 2007 and in a full year, of which €1.4 million was provided in the 2007 Estimates for the Public Service.


Anti-Addiction Measures

€1m is being provided to support organisations which assist persons with alcohol or drug dependencies and promote responsible behaviour towards alcohol consumption.  Groups benefiting will include Cuan Mhuire Athy, Aiseirν and Hope House Foxford. 

This will cost €1m in 2007.

Other Supports

Funding is being provided for Teen Parent Support Programme (€1m), St. Joseph’s School for the Visually Impaired Drumcondra (€250,000) and the Osteoporosis Society (€250,000).  Additional funding for the No Name Club is being provided from the 2007 Estimates allocation.

This will cost an estimated €1.5m in 2007.

EDUCATION & SCIENCE

Education Allowances

Increases in allowances for certain education schemes, in line with those for social welfare recipients, are being implemented from January 2007.

This will cost €8.15 million in 2007 and in a full year, of which €1.15 million was provided in the 2007 Estimates for Public Services.

COMMUNITY, RURAL  & GAELTACHT AFFAIRS

Rural Social Scheme

Increases in the Rural Social Scheme allowances, in line with those for social welfare recipients, are being implemented from January 2007.

This will cost €2.8 million in 2007 and in a full year.

ENVIRONMENT, HERITAGE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Local Improvement Scheme (L.I.S.) for Non-National Roads

Additional resources are being allocated to maintain and increase the level of support for the improvement of L.I.S. roads.

This measure will cost an estimated €10 million in 2007.

Local Government Fund

An additional allocation is being made to the Local Government Fund in 2007 to assist certain local authorities most affected by the additional operational costs associated with new water services infrastructure.

The cost of this measure is €10 million in 2007.

DEFENCE

Military Pensions Archive

A special provision is being made to the Department of Defence to support the preservation and accessibility to the public of the Military Pensions Archive.

The cost of this measure is €100,000 in 2007.


ARTS, SPORTS & TOURISM

Special Olympics Ireland

A once-off allocation to Special Olympics Ireland is being made in 2007 to support the organisation’s valuable work by helping it to meet its running costs.

The cost of this measure is €2 million in 2007.

AGRICULTURE & FOOD

Bio-Energy Establishment Scheme

This is a new scheme to provide establishment grants to farmers interested in planting willow and miscanthus for bioenergy (heat and electricity) purposes. Production of these crops is relatively undeveloped in Ireland mainly due to high establishment costs estimated at €2,800 per hectare for miscanthus and €2,900 for willow. The introduction of the scheme is for a limited period and will require EU state aid approval.

€2m is being provided in 2007 for this measure with a further €2.5m and €3.5m being provided in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

National aid for energy crops

Currently, energy crops qualify for an EU aid of €45 per hectare provided they are intended for use in the production of biofuels and biomass. The aid has proven not to be sufficiently attractive to stimulate the growing of energy crops in Ireland. Therefore, it is proposed to introduce a national top-up of €80 per hectare on the level of this premium for a limited period to stimulate production to meet demand arising from the excise relief scheme and to avoid this demand being met by imported feedstock. This proposal will also require EU State aid approval.

The objective of the top- up is to increase the areas sown under energy crops from the current level of 3,000 hectares to up to 70,000 hectares over the next number of years.

The cost of this measure is estimated at approximately €1m for 2007 rising to €2.5m in both 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Biomass Harvesting Machinery

A special scheme of supports is planned to grant aid biomass harvesting machinery, such as harvesters and chippers for processing of forest biomass. Again, the introduction of the scheme requires EU approval.

€0.6m is being provided in both 2007 and 2008 for this measure

COMMUNICATIONS, MARINE AND NATURAL RESOURCES

Greener Homes

An increase of €5m in 2007 to almost €10m, for the existing scheme of grant aid for renewable energy technologies (e.g. Solar Panels). There is also provision for additional spending on this measure of €7m in 2008 and €8m in 2009.

Bio-Heat scheme

Extension ofthis scheme of grants (for commercial wood burning boilers), to cover the installation of other technologies such as solar panels in commercial premises and for buildings in the non-commercial sector such as community centres and sports facilities – an additional €1m this year for this measure which, together with a reallocation of resources with the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, will increase the spending on this area by €3m in 2007.

Sustainable Energy Ireland

An additional €3m to enable it, as a pilot scheme, to support SMEs in assessing their energy usage and measures to enhance energy efficiency.


© Copyright 2007 by Finfacts.com

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