Main points in Budget 2016 - what does it mean for you? Child benefit is to increase by €5 per month to €140 from January. The Government is to legislate for two weeks of statutory paternity leave. Free pre-school childcare will be available for children from 3 years until they start primary education or reach the age of five and a half years. The statutory minimum wage is to rise from €8.65 to €9.15 per hour from January as previously recommended by the Low Pay Commission. The old age pension will increase by €3 per week from January. The fuel allowance will be increased by €2.50 per week to €22.50. The excise duty on a pack of 20 cigarettes is to increase by 50 cent from midnight. This is the only tax increase in the budget. The three lower USC rates are to fall - the 1.5 per cent rate (on the first €12,012 earned) will be cut to 1 per cent; the 3.5 per cent rate (on income of €12,012 to €18,668) falls to 3 per cent; and the 7 per cent rate (on earnings of €18,668 to €70,044) will fall to 5.5 per cent. The entry point to the USC will rise from €12,012 to €13,000. The Christmas bonus for social welfare recipients will be restored to 75 per cent of the recipient’s weekly payment. This means a pensioner on €230 will receive a bonus of €173. A dole claimant receiving unemployment benefit of €188 will get a bonus of €141. The respite care grant for carer’s will be restored to its previous level of €1,700. A tax credit for people who are carers in the home rises by €190 to €1,000. The free GP care scheme will be extended to children aged under 12. Up to 600 extra gardaí will be recruited. 2,200 new teachers will be hired – the pupil-teracher ratio will be reduced. The threshold for the Family Income Support payment is to increase by €5 per week for families with one child and €10 for those with two or more children. The maximum rate of tax on commercial vehicles will be €900 compared to a current top level of €5,195.
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