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Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking to media outside the Dáil this morning

Ahead of the Budget being announced this afternoon…

RTÉ’s political correspondent Martina Fitzgerald reported on Morning Ireland earlier:

“It’s reported this morning that the old age pension will be increased by €3 a week. Other measures include the restoration of the Christmas bonus to 75 per cent of what it was before it was abolished in 2009. The fuel allowance is going to rise by €2.50 per week from January, which will affect 380,000 households. The respite care grant will be restored in full. Around 2,200 new teaching posts will also be announced, 600 of the recruits will be resource teachers for those with special needs.”

“At least 500 additional Garda posts will also be announced. A childcare package will provide for two weeks’ paid paternity leave, free pre-school from three years of age and an expansion of the community childcare subvention programme. There will also be €120million additional money for housing. On the tax see, the price of a packet of cigarettes will rise by 50 cent. Most of the tax package will focus on the USC and a tax credit for the self-employed. There would be a reduction in the first three USC rates and the threshold for which people pay the tax will rise to €13,000.”

UPDATE:

Meanwhile, not in the Budget…

The Irish Times reports:

“Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said measures on rent, which the Government has failed to agree ahead of the budget, will continue to be worked on by the Coalition parties.”

“He said Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly and Minister for Housing were looking at a package of measures “that will deal with the question of the supply side” of housing, “which is the real problem here”.”

“Mr Kenny said discussions would continue between these two Ministers and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to determine how to proceed “without interfering with the market to its disadvantage”.”

Budget speeches are expected to begin at 2.15pm.

Rent measures to be excluded from budget after disagreement (Irish Times)

Budget 2016: Tax credits and USC reductions on way (Irish Times)

Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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