Athlone families are set to have a little more in their pockets in 2018, Fine Gael TD Peter Burke has said.
Deputy Burke reported that Government measures coming into force in 2018 will ensure that more and more families continue to benefit from the economic recovery.
“Tax cuts announced by the Government in Budget 2018 will come into force in the New Year. This is good news for hard pressed working families in Athlone who will have a little more in their pockets,” he commented.
“In Budget 2018, we increased the entry point to the higher rate of income tax by €750 per annum, from €33,800 to €34,550. Together with the USC cut, this is worth €500 to 600 to an average family on two incomes. Fine Gael also reduced the Universal Social Charge in Budget 2018. This is the fourth such increase we have introduced, designed to ease the tax burden on low and middle income people, making life a little easier for them and their families.
“Over the last three Budgets, Fine Gael also increased the Earned Income Tax Credit to €1,150. This benefits self-employed people and helps them to create jobs here in Athlone and further afield. These are all small changes, but ensure that economic management is prudent so that we have more resources to invest in public services in the long-term.”
Deputy Burke welcomed the general improvement in the national economy and that wage rates have started to grow again.
“The Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 provides for sustainable wage growth over the three-year period 2018 to 2020, ranging from 6.2 per cent to 7.4 per cent. These increases to pay will bring 90 per cent of public servants out of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest legislation by the end of 2020,” he said.
“Families with young children are also now benefitting from the childcare measures introduced by the Government in September. A universal childcare subsidy of up to €1,040 per year, for children aged from six months up to starting their free preschool year at 36 months was introduced in September 2017. We also introduced Paternity Benefit for new fathers this year for the first time in the history of the State.’
Deputy Burke said Fine Gael is delivering for families in Westmeath and the country, and will continue to invest in education, health, childcare and housing.
“Our recovering economy allows the Government to ensure that people and families in Athlone will experience sustained improvements in their lives,” he concluded.