Budget 2018: Main Points So Far

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A new entity, Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI), will be created with €750 million from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund being allocated for commercial investment in housing through this.

A sugar tax is being introduced in line with the commitment made in the programme to Government and a full consultation process.

There will be an additional €18 million for emergency accommodation bringing the spend to €116 million, while there will be an extra 31 million for social housing expenditure - totalling 115 million.

Additional 1,300 teaching posts next year to reduce the primary pupil teacher ratio to 26:1.

There will be 800 extra gardai and 500 extra civilians for the force.

There will be a reduction in prescription charges for medical card holders under the age of 70 from €2.50 to €2 per item.

The Dept of Transport & Tourism is to have a budget of over € 2bn - €112m for tourism and marketing the country, while Sport will get €111m for sport in 2018.

An extra €2.5m has been allocated for Irish language training in 2018.

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Tusla is to get extra funding of €40m for child protection, bringing total to €754m.

Some social welfare payments are expected to rise by €5 per week, including the State Pension and Lone Parents Allowance.

The Minister for Finance has defended his decision to reduce both USC rates and change tax bands so that fewer people will pay the top rate. Entry point to USC will remain at €13,000.

He said that a "system where those earning an average wage are charged the higher rate of tax is unfair".

The 5% USC rate lowered to 4.75%.

Funding for homeless services will increase by €18m next year.

The home carer credit will increase to €1,200. There will also be a 0% Benefit-in-Kind rate for electric vehicles alongside the VRT relief and SEAI grant.

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