The budget has brought a lot of bad news for the citizens of Ireland, particularly students and the elderly. However, it is important to focus on the few good things this budget will bring, or I should say, leave untouched.
For motorists, there will be no increase in the costs of petrol, diesel, carbon tax, VRT and motor tax. The current costs are substantial, a result of last year’s budget, and to raise them would create an enormous struggle for car owners. Home heating oil or gas also won’t be affected, a small victory for homeowners.
Children under the age of five will receive free GP care, a relief to parents around the country who find it unreasonable to pay €65 for a check-up. Potential cuts to care grants and child benefits have been greatly anticipated, but fortunately they have been spared. Income tax and social welfare rates have also been kept safe.
In spite of the €250 rise in tuition fees for students, the threshold for the maintenance grant has not been increased. Whether this fee increase can be covered with the grant remains to be seen.