HOUSEHOLDS were hit in the pocket last night by a tough budget that included a property tax that will start next July, a reduction in child benefit paymens, increase in student fees, cigarettes and alcohol and further cuts via the PRSI system.
The 30,000 students who attend third level colleges in the city and county have been hit with an increase in college fees of €250 a year, prompting anger among student leaders who had been campaigning for an abolition of fees rather than to see them increased.
The property tax, Finance MInister Noonan said, is to be levied at a rate of 0.18 per cent on properties worth up to €1 million and 0.25 per cent on properties valued at more than that.
He said certain properties would be exempt from assessment for the tax, in a similar way to exemptions from the €100 Household Charge. There will also be a system of voluntary deferral arrangements to assist those facing difficult circumstances.
From midnight last night, excise duty increased by 10 cent on pints of beer and cider and measures of spirits, and by €1 on a 750ml bottle of wine. The price of a pack of cigarettes went up by 10 cent from midnight and the price of a 50g pouch of tobacco rose by five cent.
Drivers were hit as well, with motor tax to rise by between €10 and €126, with a carbon tax on peat and coal to be introduced on a phased basis.
Child benefit will be cut by €10 per month, saving €136 million next year, and Jobseekers Benefit would only be available for nine months, rather than 12 months, which would save €33 million in 2013 and €82 million in a full year.
Prescription charges for medical card holders are being tripled from €0.50 to €1.50 with the monthly cap for a family rising from €10 to €19.50
The key points are —
— Child benefit cut by €10 per month
— Third-level fees to rise by €250 per year
— Unvouched expenses for TDs abolished
— Motor tax to rise from January 1
— DIRT increases by three per cent to 33 per cent
— 10 cent rise on spirits, beer and cider from last night
— Excise duty on tobacco to rise
— €1 duty increase on 75cl bottle of wine
— No increase on petrol/diesel
— Carbon tax extended to solid fuels
— Expenditure adjustments to total €2.25bn
— Corporation tax remains unchanged at 12.5 per cent
— Homes bought in 2013 exempt from property tax
Full details of Budget 2013 are contained in our Budget Breakdown special on Page 52. The details are written by KPMG Galway.