Press

 Budget 2014

Introduction Budget 2014 was announced on 15 October 2013.
The main Budget changes that may affect people living in Ireland are set out below.
This document sets out changes in the areas of taxation, social welfare, health, housing, education, employment and other areas.
It is an overview and not a complete statement of the measures announced in Budget 2014.
Some of the changes announced in the Budget come into effect immediately. Others take effect from the beginning of January 2014 or in mid-2014. Many others have to be finalised before coming into effect. Some elements of these measures may change when the legislation required to bring them into effect is enacted. For a full list of the Budget changes, please see the Department of Finance website, budget.gov.ie.
You can find a summary of the social welfare changes on the Department of Social Protection’s website, welfare.ie.
Taxation Income tax From 1 January 2014, the One-Parent Family Tax Credit is to be replaced with a new Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit. The new credit will be to the same value but will be available only to the principal carer of the child.
Tax relief on private health insurance premiums will be limited to €1,000 for each adult insured and €500 for each child. This change applies to policies which are renewed or entered into on or after 16 October 2013. A child for the purposes of this provision includes a student over 18 years and under 23 years who is in full-time education. Relief will continue to be granted at 20%.
A new Home Renovation Incentive scheme of tax relief will be introduced for a period of two years. The scheme provides tax relief for home renovation work.
To encourage those who wish to start their own business, an exemption from income tax up to a maximum of €40,000 per annum will be provided for a period of two years, to individuals who set up a qualifying, un-incorporated business, having been unemployed for a period of at least 15 months prior to establishing the business.
Top Slicing Relief, which is a reduction of tax due on lump sum payments when leaving employment, will no longer be available from 1 January 2014 in respect of all ex-gratia lump sum payments.
Lump sum payments to claimants under the Magdalene Laundry Fund will be tax exempt.  Capital Gains Tax The relief from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) (in respect of the first 7 years of ownership) for properties purchased between 7 December 2011 and 31 December 2013 is being extended by one year to include properties bought to the end of 2014. Where property purchased in this period is held for seven years the gains accrued in that period will not attract CGT.
A new Capital Gains Tax incentive is being introduced to encourage entrepreneurs (in particular “serial” entrepreneurs) to invest and re-invest in assets used in new productive trading activities. Capital Gains Tax retirement relief is being further extended to disposals of leased land in circumstances where, among other conditions, the land is leased over the long-term (a minimum lease of 5 years) and the subsequent disposal is to a person other than a child of the individual disposing of the farmland. The purpose of the measure is to encourage older farmers who have no children to whom to transfer their farm to lease out their farmland over the long term to younger farmers.
Excise duties
The excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes is being increased by 10 cents (including VAT) with a pro-rata increase on the other tobacco products, with effect from midnight on 15 October 2013. The excise duty on a pint of beer or cider, and on a standard measure of spirits is being increased by 10 cent (including VAT); the duty on a 75cl bottle of wine is being increased by 50 cent (including VAT), with effect from midnight on 15 October 2013.
VAT
The 9% reduced VAT rate, which was introduced in 2011 as part of the Government Jobs Initiative for tourism-related services, was due to revert to 13.5% on 31 December 2013. The 9% VAT rate is being retained. The annual VAT cash receipts basis threshold for small to medium businesses is being increased from €1.25 million to €2 million with effect from 1 May 2014. This change will assist such businesses in the critical area of cash-flow and reduce administration. The farmer’s flat-rate addition will be increased from 4.8% to 5% with effect from 1 January 2014. The flat-rate scheme compensates unregistered farmers for VAT incurred on their farming inputs.
Other duties and taxes The rate of Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT), together with the rates of exit tax that apply to life assurance policies and investment funds, is being increased and will now be 41% whether payments are made annually or more frequently (previously 33%) or are made less frequently than annually (previously 36%). The increased rates will apply to payments, including deemed payments, made on or after 1 January 2014. The 0.6% stamp duty levy on pension fund assets is to increase to 0.75% for the year 2014. The levy will be reduced to 0.15% for 2015.
The Government has decided that a specific contribution to the Exchequer is to be obtained from the financial sector for the period 2014 to 2016. The contribution will be related to the amount of tax paid on deposit interest by the institution in the calendar year 2011. Full details will be contained in the Finance Bill.
Social Welfare In 2014 €19.6 billion is to be spent on social protection in 2014. New spending reductions have been limited to €226 million. The Department of Social Protection has received an increased capital allocation of €15 million to roll out Intreo centres fully. There are no changes to the rates of primary weekly social welfare payments and pensions. Jobseeker’s Allowance and Supplementary Welfare Allowance From January 2014 people without children getting Jobseeker’s Allowance or Supplementary Welfare Allowance who are aged between 18 and 24 years will receive €100 per week. Existing claimants aged between 18 and 24 on a higher rate will have no change in their rate.
From January 2014 people without children getting Jobseeker’s Allowance or Supplementary Welfare Allowance aged 25 years will receive €144 a week. Existing claimants aged 25 on a higher rate will have no change in their rate. This weekly €144 rate will increase to €188 when they reach 26 years of age. From January 2014 these reduced rates of Jobseeker’s Allowance will apply to people aged 25 and under who have exhausted their entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit.
Jobseeker’s Allowance – current rates of payment Maximum personal rate aged 25 years or over €188 Increase for a qualified adult €124.80 Maximum personal rate aged 22 – 24 years €144 Increase for a qualified adult €124.80 Maximum personal rate aged 18 – 21 years €100 Increase for a qualified adult €100 Jobseeker’s Allowance – from January 2014 Maximum personal rate aged 26 years or over €188 Increase for a qualified adult €124.80 Maximum personal rate aged 25 years €144 Increase for a qualified adult €124.80 Maximum personal rate aged 18 – 24 years €100 Increase for a qualified adult €100 Currently, all Jobseeker’s Allowance and Supplementary Welfare Allowance recipients, regardless of age, who have children continue to receive a personal rate of €188 per week and an increase for a qualified adult, if applicable, of €124.80 plus qualified child increases. There are no changes to those arrangements.
The HSE care provision for people getting JA is also extended to age 24 (from 21). So, for example, a person aged 20 who is in receipt of a rate of €188 because they were in the care of the HSE during their 17th year can remain on this rate up to age 24. Returning to education or training From 1 January 2014 people aged 25 will get an age-reduced rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance of €144. If they take part in the Back to Education Scheme (BTEA) they will get a standard maximum rate of €160 per week. From 1 January 2014 all new BTEA participants aged under 26 who were getting a reduced age-related Jobseeker’s Allowance payment, will get a maximum BTEA rate of €160 per week (any means participants have will be deducted from this rate). People aged 25 who were getting an age-related reduced rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance will also get a standard weekly allowance of €160 if they take part in a FÁS course, the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) or a Youthreach course. Maternity Benefit and Adoptive Benefit From January 2014 the minimum and maximum rates of Maternity Benefit and Adoptive Benefit will be standardised at €230 per week for new applicants. This will result in an increase of up to €12.20 for those receiving less than €230 per week and a reduction of up to €32 per week for all other claimants. The change will apply to new claimants. Existing claimants will not be affected. Illness Benefit From January 2014 no Illness Benefit payment will be made for the first 6 days of illness (up from 3 days). This means that a person will not be entitled to Illness Benefit for the first 6 days of their claim. Rent and Mortgage Interest Supplements From January 2014 the minimum contribution towards Rent Supplement and Mortgage Interest Supplement for couples will be increased by €5 per week, from €35 to €40. This aligns Rent and Mortgage Interest Supplement contributions with the local authority rents structure. This change applies to new and existing recipients. The minimum contribution for single people, including single people with children (currently €30), will not change. The Mortgage Interest Supplement (MIS) scheme will be closed to new entrants and will be wound down for existing recipients over a 4-year period from January 2014. Child Benefit There are no new changes to Child Benefit in Budget 2014. Child Benefit will be standardised at €130 per month for each child from January 2014, as announced in Budget 2013. Breakfast clubs Extra Breakfast Clubs will be provided to support school-going children in disadvantaged areas.
Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is unchanged for all children under 18. In 2014 it will continue to be paid for those aged 18 years and over who are in second-level education only, not in third-level education. Household Benefits Package From January 2014 the Telephone Allowance will be discontinued for existing and new recipients. The value of the allowance is €9.50 per month per household. The Free TV Licence and Electricity Allowance or Gas Allowance paid under the Household Benefits Package will continue to be paid with no changes to rates. There are no changes to the Free Travel Scheme and the Fuel Allowance Scheme. In 2014 the annual payment to RTÉ for the Free TV Licence will reduce by €5 million to €54.17 million. This will not affect recipients who will continue to get a free TV licence. State Pension Transition As previously announced the State Pension (Transition) will no longer be paid from January 2014. Invalidity Pension The higher weekly Invalidity Pension rate of €230.30 paid when claimants reach age 65 will be discontinued. The rate payable to people aged 65 (and under) will be €193.50 per week. It will apply to people claiming Invalidity Pension who reach their 65th birthday from January 2014. Existing 65 year olds are unaffected. This measure is being undertaken in line with the abolition of the State Pension (Transition) from January 2014. People who are getting Invalidity Pension (existing and new recipients) will continue to be automatically transferred to State Pension (Contributory) at age 66 and they will receive a weekly rate of €230.30. The weekly rate payable to all qualified adults of people claiming Invalidity Pension will be standardised at €138.10 per week. This measure will apply to spouses and partners aged 66 or over who reach their 66th birthday from January 2014. Existing spouses and partners aged 66 and over are unaffected. Bereavement Grant From January 2014 the Bereavement Grant of €850 will be discontinued. The Funeral Grant under the Occupational Injuries Scheme will continue to be paid. The six weeks’ payment after death (where the deceased person’s payment continues for 6 weeks to their spouse or partner who is also getting a weekly welfare payment), the Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner’s Grant of €6,000 and assistance with funeral costs under Exceptional Needs Payments are unaffected. Miscellaneous savings In 2014 savings of €2.1 million will be achieved in Exceptional Needs Payments (under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme) arising through the standardisation of payments. The value of certain social welfare payments will be recovered by the Department of Social Protection from insurance companies in respect of compensation awards arising from an accident or injury. Savings of €21 million will be made from this reform measure. Additional savings of €30 million will be realised in fraud and control measures during 2014.
Rates: 2013 and 2014 Social Insurance Payments Maximum Weekly Rates Personal Rate Increase for a Qualified Adult Qualified Child Increase 2013/2014 2013 2014 2013 2014 State Pension (Contributory)/(Transition) Under Age 80 €230.30 €230.30 €153.50 (Note1) €153.50 (Note 1) €29.80 Age 80 and over €240.30 €240.30 €206.30 (Note 2) €206.30 (Note 2) €29.80 Widow’s/Widower’s/Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension/Deserted Wife’s Benefit Under Age 66 €193.50 €193.50 €29.80 Aged 66 and under Age 80 €230.30 €230.30 €29.80 Aged 80 and over €240.30 €240.30 €29.80 Invalidity Pension €193.50 €193.50 €138.10 €138.10 €29.80 Carer’s Benefit/Constant Attendance Allowance €205.00 €205.00 €29.80 Disablement Benefit €219.00 €219.00 Jobseeker’s/Illness/Health & Safety/Injury Benefit €188.00 €188.00 €124.80 €124.80 €29.80 Death Benefit Under Age 66 €218.50 €218.50 €29.80 Aged 66 and under Age 80 €234.70 €234.70 €29.80 Aged 80 and over €244.70 €244.70 €29.80 Social Assistance Payments Maximum Weekly Rates Personal Rate Increase for a Qualified Adult Qualified Child Increase 2013/2014 2013 2014 2013 2014 State Pension (Non-Contributory) Aged 66 and under Age 80 €219.00 €219.00 €144.70 €144.70 €29.80 Age 80 and over €229.00 €229.00 €29.80 Carer’s Allowance Under Age 66 €204.00 €204.00 €29.80 Aged 66 and over €239.00 €239.00 €29.80 Blind Pension €188.00 €188.00 €124.80 €124.80 €29.80 Widow’s/Widower’s/Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension €188.00 €188.00 Deserted Wife’s/Prisoner’s Wife’s Allowance €188.00 €188.00 One-Parent Family Payment €188.00 €188.00 €29.80 Pre-Retirement/Disability Allowance €188.00 €188.00 €124.80 €124.80 €29.80 Supplementary Welfare Allowance €186.00 €186.00 €124.80 €124.80 €29.80 Jobseeker’s Allowance €188.00 €188.00 €124.80 €124.80 €29.80 Farm Assist €188.00 €188.00 €124.80 €124.80 €29.80 Other Social Welfare Allowances Personal Rate 2013 2014 Maternity/Adoptive Benefit (maximum rate) €262.00 €230.00 Maternity/Adoptive Benefit (Minimun Rate) €217.80 €230.00 Guardian’s Payment (Contributory)/(Non-Contributory) €161.00 €161.00 Note1: for those under age 66 years Note2: for those aged 66 years or over Child Benefit Number of Children 2013 Monthly Rate 2014 Monthly Rate 2013 Annual rate 1 child €130.00 €130.00 €1,560.00 2 children €260.00 €260.00 €3,120.00 3 children €390.00 €390.00 €4,680.00 4 children €530.00 €520.00 €6,240.00 5 children €670.00 €650.00 €7,800.00 6 children €810.00 €780.00 €9,360.00 7 children €950.00 €910.00 €10,920.00 8 children €1,090.00 €1,040.00 €12,480.00 Family Income Supplement (FIS) Family Size Current Income Limit 2014 Income Limit 1 child €506.00 €506.00 2 children €602.00 €602.00 3 children €703.00 €703.00 4 children €824.00 €824.00 5 children €950.00 €950.00 6 children €1,066.00 €1,066.00 7 children €1,202.00 €1,202.00 8 children or more €1,298.00 €1,298.00 Level of FIS payment will continue to be based on 60% of the shortfall between net weekly family income and the applicable weekly family threshold. Housing, Employment and Business, Education and Training Housing Home Renovation Incentive A scheme of tax relief for home renovation work is being introduced for a period of 2 years. The Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) will provide an income tax credit of up to €4,050 to homeowners who carry out renovation and improvement works on their principal private residences in 2014 and 2015. It will be payable over the 2 years following the year in which the work is carried out. The credit will be calculated at a rate of 13.5% on all qualifying expenditure over €5,000, up to a maximum of €30,000. Qualifying works include extensions and renovations to the home, window-fitting, plumbing, tiling and plastering. Builders must be fully tax-compliant and all expenditure and relief claims will have to be registered electronically with the Revenue Commissioners. Investment projects €30 million is allocated to recommence the State’s house-building programme. This will facilitate up to 500 additional housing units between a small number of new infill developments and the return of previously uninhabitable units to the housing stock. €10 million will be provided for an unfinished housing estate resolution initiative where there is no development bond to carry out essential public works such as footpaths, drainage and roads. Investments by NAMA will include the construction of 4,500 new houses and apartments in Dublin. Part of the €200 million to be invested from the sale of the National Lottery licence in 2014 will be allocated to the Better Energy Programme and for up to 5,700 housing adaptation grants for older people and people with a disability. €10 million is allocated to resolve the problems at Priory Hall. A new model of financing social interventions, to be called ‘Social Impact Investment’ will aim to use private capital to provide better outcomes for citizens. The pilot phase is seeking private sector investment partners to provide long-term homes for over 130 homeless families in the Dublin region. A total of €45 million is being provided for homeless accommodation. There will also be a new insulation scheme for local authority housing. It is expected that the €25 million being provided will improve the energy efficiency of 12,500 local authority homes. €79 million will be provided for housing regeneration. Up to 150 new leased units will be provided for people with disabilities who are leaving institutional care and 175 new housing units will be provided for people with special needs. A new remediation scheme will be set up for homes affected by Pyrite. The Living City Initiative is being extended to Cork, Galway, Kilkenny and Dublin. The eligibility criteria will now include all buildings built prior to 1915. The initiative aims to assist the regeneration of retail and commercial districts and encourage families to live in historic buildings in city centres. EU state-aid approval will be required. Assistance towards paying for housing The minimum contribution towards Rent Supplement for all couples will increase by €5 per week from €35 to €40 to align Rent Supplement contributions with the local authority rents structure. The minimum contribution towards Mortgage Interest Supplement for all couples will increase by €5 per week from €35 to €40. The minimum contribution for single people, including single people with children, will not change. The Mortgage Interest Supplement scheme will be discontinued for new entrants. For existing recipients, the scheme will be wound down over a 4-year period from January 2014. The legislative basis for the new Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), which is to replace Rent Supplement, will be introduced in 2014. A test phase will begin in seven local authorities. Housing tax reliefs Rent Tax Relief will be reduced, as in previous years: Maximum qualifying amounts for 2014 Single under 55 yrs €800 Single over 55 yrs €1,600 Married or in a Civil Partnership, Widowed or a Surviving Civil Partner, under 55 years €1,600 Married or in a Civil Partnership, Widowed or a Surviving Civil Partner, over 55 years €3,200 No new changes were announced to Mortgage Interest Relief, which only applies to mortgages taken out by 31 December 2012. The previously announced rates and ceilings will apply in 2014 in accordance with the tables published by Revenue. http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/reliefs/tax-relief-source-mortgage-rates.html Employment and Business Small and medium businesses A Start Your Own Business (SYOB) measure is being introduced to encourage people who are long-term unemployed to start their own unincorporated business, by providing a two-year exemption from income tax (up to a maximum of €40,000 per year) for people who have been unemployed for at least 15 months prior to starting their own business. Local Enterprise Offices will get additional funding of €3.5 million for investment in supports for start-ups and growing businesses. Trading-online voucher scheme: In 2014 €5 million will be provided to assist the rollout of a national trading-online voucher scheme, aimed at getting 2,000 small Irish businesses trading online. Under a pilot scheme being launched in October 2013, vouchers of up to €2,500 will be provided to 50 small companies to help them develop an online trading presence. The scheme will be administered by the Dublin City Enterprise Board and will target small enterprises that employ fewer than 10 people and have a turnover of less than €2m per annum. Credit Review Office: the threshold for credit applications that can be reviewed by the Credit Review Office is being increased from €500,000 to €3 million. The VAT cash threshold for small and medium enterprises will increase from €1.25 million to €2 million with effect from 1 May 2014. A new SME Communications Strategy will aim to increase awareness of State supports amongst small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and to ensure that there is a greater awareness amongst businesses of the Credit Guarantee Scheme, which will soon be re-launched. A new Building Business Capacity programme, consisting of 2 days dedicated off-site training and expert mentoring support, will aim to enhance the business and financial capacity of SMEs in relation to understanding and using a broader range of financial products, as well as equipping them with tools needed to make a strong business case when applying for credit. The programme will be launched on a pilot basis, with 1,000 SMEs expected to take part in 2014. Supports for investment in business Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs): it has been agreed with the Department of Justice to propose the inclusion of REITs as an investment option in the Immigrant Investor Programme. Research and Development Tax Credit: the amount of expenditure eligible for the R&D Tax Credit on a full volume basis (without reference to the 2003 base year) is being increased from €200,000 to €300,000. The limit on the amount of R&D expenditure that can be outsourced will increase from10% to 15%. Capital Gains Tax: A new relief from Capital Gains Tax is being introduced to encourage entrepreneurs who reinvest the proceeds from the disposal of assets, on which CGT has previously been paid, into a new investment in productive trading activities. The measure will apply where someone who has already paid CGT on the disposal of assets invests in a new business in the period 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2018 and subsequently disposes of this investment no earlier than three years after the date of investment. The relief will be a tax credit equal to (i) the lower of the CGT paid on the previous asset disposal or (ii) 50% of the CGT due on any gain from the future disposal of the new investment. EU state-aid approval is required for this measure. Employment and Investment Incentive: The initial 30% relief available for investments under the Employment and Investment Incentive (EII) is being removed from the high earners restriction for a period of 3 years. This restriction limits the amount of tax reliefs that can be claimed by high income individuals. The EII provides that a maximum of €150,000 can be invested by an individual per annum. Therefore, by lifting the restriction on the initial 30% relief, these investors should be encouraged to invest more funds in the EII and improve the availability of funds to SMEs. Supports for unemployed people It is estimated that spending on schemes such as Community Employment, Tús and JobBridge will be €1.08 billion in 2014. Provision of part-time childcare places for Community Employment participants under the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) scheme is to be introduced in early 2014. EU Youth Guarantee: As part of the implementation of the EU Youth Guarantee, which is to be finalised and submitted to the EU by the end of 2013, it is proposed to: Reduce the threshold for JobsPlus eligibility to 6 months or less of unemployment for people aged under 25 Provide for an additional intake of 1,500 young people on to the JobBridge scheme Ensure that 1,000 places on the Tús scheme are targeted at young people Develop a pilot programme to support young unemployed people to take up opportunities under schemes such as ‘Your First EURES Job’ Ring-fence a minimum of 2,000 additional training places on Momentum for people aged under 25 Education and Training Pupil/teacher ratio The pupil/teacher ratio in all schools will remain unchanged. DEIS schools in disadvantaged areas will continue to be provided with targeted supports over and above other schools. School Books Rental Scheme €5m will be available to primary schools to invest in book rental schemes. These funds will be paid to schools in the form of a seed capital grant, with DEIS schools receiving €150 per child and non-DEIS schools receiving €100 per child. Third-level education The Student Contribution will continue to increase by €250 per annum for the academic years 2014/2015 and 2015/2016. Further education and training FÁS apprentices will be required to pay a pro-rata Student Contribution proportionate to the time they spend in Institutes of Technology. From 1 January 2014, people getting one of the social welfare payments listed below will not get a FÁS or Youthreach training allowance. However, they will continue to get their social welfare payment. This will apply to new participants only. Invalidity Pension Illness Benefit One-Parent Family Payment Farm Assist Fish Assist From 1 January 2014, the €20 bonus payment to long-term unemployed participants in FÁS courses, the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) and Youthreach will not be paid to new participants. From January 2014 new claimants of Jobseekers Allowance aged 25 years will get a reduced maximum payment of €144 per week, this will be replaced by an allowance of €160 if a claimant participates in the Back to Education Allowance scheme, in a FÁS course, the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) or Youthreach course. Momentum A minimum of 2,000 additional training places on Momentum will be ring-fenced for participants under 25 years of age as part of the EU Youth Guarantee Fund. Child and Family Agency An extra €6.7 million has been allocated to support the reform of child welfare and protection services upon the establishment of the new Child and Family Agency. Childcare The School Age Childcare Initiative will be implemented, targeting low-income families and supporting parents who avail of an employment opportunity. Delivery of the Quality Agenda for Pre-School Services was announced. This will include strengthening the pre-school inspection system, supporting the implementation of the early education frameworks Síolta and Aistear, and assisting staff to meet new qualification requirements. Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programme The roll-out of the Area Based Childhood (ABC) programme was announced. It aims to support better outcomes for disadvantaged children through more innovation, effective planning, integration and delivery of services. Youth programmes and services An extra €1m is allocated to support youth programmes and services. A range of youth programmes and services will be provided to 400,000 young people. Children’s Detention Centre Construction work on new Children Detention School facilities in Oberstown, Lusk, Co Dublin will continue in 2014. This development provides for the assignment of responsibility for all young people under the age of 18 years to the Oberstown campus by the third quarter of 2014. School projects There will be 28 school capital projects. A social procurement contract clause is included in the schools capital works for the first time ensuring that a proportion of the workforce is drawn from the long-term unemployed. Activation measures The total 2014 allocation for activation places in education and in training and work experience is €1.6 billion. This will provide nearly 300,000 places in work, education and training programmes across the Departments of Social Protection and Education and Skills. 94,000 places will be reserved for the long-term unemployed. Health, Tourism, Other Announcements Health Free GP care for children aged 5 years and under Free GP care will be introduced during 2014 for children aged 5 years and under. This will require legislation. Medical cards and GP Visit Cards The income limits for medical cards for people aged over 70 will reduce from €600/€1,200 per week (single person/couple) to €500/ €900 per week. The GP Visit Card will still be available to people aged over 70 with income up to €700/€1,400 per week. It is planned to have the necessary legislation in place by the end of 2013 or early 2014. Unemployed people who return to work will be entitled to retain a GP Visit Card for 3 years without a means test. Currently they can retain their medical card for 3 years. This measure requires legislation and it is to be phased in during 2014. A planned review of all medical cards to remove ineligible and redundant cards is expected to save €113 million. Prescription charge The prescription charge for medical card holders is increased to €2.50 per item (from €1.50), up to a maximum of €25 per month per person or family (increased from €19.50). The new charges are expected to apply from 1 December 2013. Generic drugs The substitution of generic drugs and the phased introduction of reference pricing, starting from 1 November 2013, are expected to save €50 million. Tax relief on health insurance premiums The amount of private health insurance premium that qualifies for tax relief will be limited to €1,000 for adults and €500 for children (including students aged 18–23 years in full-time education). This change applies to policies which are renewed or entered into on or after 16 October 2013. Other provisions €10 million is to be saved by the removal of products from the List of Reimbursable Items for the medical card and Drugs Payment Scheme. The HSE will now consider products for review in compliance with the provisions of the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013. The Health (Amendment) Act 2013 introduced a new system of charges for private in-patients using public hospital facilities. This will take effect from 1 January 2014. €20 million is allocated in 2014 for the development of mental health services in line with the strategy document “A Vision for Change”. Tourism The Air Travel Tax is being reduced to zero with effect from 1 April 2014. The 9% reduced VAT rate, which was introduced in 2011 as part of the Government Jobs Initiative for tourism related services is being retained. Funding of €8 million is being provided to develop the Wild Atlantic Way tourism route along the west coast. Other Announcements Community and Rural Development €48 million will be invested in a revised Local and Community Development Programme in 2014 to increase access to formal and informal educational activities and resources, and to increase people’s work readiness and employment prospects. Some 14,000 people who are distanced from the labour market will receive direct one-to one labour market training and supports through the Programme. Additional public service staff The target for public service numbers next year has been adjusted to allow some scope for additional staff in classrooms, in hospital wards and for front-line policing. Appeal Commissioners The Appeal Commissioners will be reformed in 2014. The Appeal Commissioners hear and decide upon appeals from the public about decisions of the Revenue Commissioners on taxes and duties. National Lottery The Government recently concluded the award of the National Lottery Licence for over €400 million. €200 million of this is ring-fenced for the construction of the National Children’s Hospital. A further €200 million will be used to support local economic activity and job creation. The €200 million will help to fund: Road maintenance and repair works A new round of Sports Capital Grants The building of a new National Indoor Training Arena at the National Sports Campus The Better Energy Programme Housing adaptation grants for older people and people with a disability The National City of Culture Initiative The development of a large scale multi-functional events centre in Cork The Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route tourism project A number of 1916 Commemoration Projects The funding allocations for these and other projects will be included in the Revised Estimates Volume 2014. Garda recruitment A new Garda recruitment programme will begin next year alongside the independent review of the force agreed under the Haddington Road Agreement. Targeted objective Garda strength is to be maintained at 13,000 and there will be an additional €9m investment in the Garda fleet. Garda Vetting Service Additional funding will be provided to the Department of Justice and Equality to increase staff for the Garda Vetting Service. Court of Appeal and the Legal Services Regulatory Authority It is expected that the new Court of Appeal and the Legal Services Regulatory Authority will be established during 2014. Sport A new round of the Sports Capital Programme will start in 2014. Clubs will be able to apply for essential works like new changing rooms, pitches, lighting and other projects. A new National Indoor Arena will be developed at the National Sports Campus. Transport A €50 million roads stimulus package will allow some maintenance works to be carried out next year. The intended cut in the roads capital budget for 2014, originally proposed as a drop of €116 million, will now be a smaller adjustment of €66 million. Water services The transfer of water services responsibilities, assets and liabilities from local authorities to Irish Water will take place on 1 January 2014. Irish Water will receive €240 million in Exchequer equity investment to fund the water and wastewater capital programme.

SOURCE :www.citizensinformation.ie

  Budget 2013. Some of the changes announced in the Budget come into effect immediately.Others take effect from the beginning of January 2013 or in mid-2013. Manyothers have to be finalised before coming into effect. Some elements of these measures may change when the legislation required tobring them into effect is enacted. The progress of the Finance(Local Property Tax) Bill 2012 and the SocialWelfare Bill 2012 can be followed on the Houses of the Oireachtas website. For a full list of the Budget changes, please see the Department of Financewebsite, budget.gov.ie. You can find asummary of the social welfare changes on the Department of Social Protection’swebsite, welfare.ie. Taxation Changes apply to the year 2013, unless specified otherwise. Personal credits and allowances There are no changes in personal credits and allowances and bands except forRent Tax Relief. Rent Tax Relief will be reduced, as in previous years: Maximum qualifying amounts for 2013 Single under 55 yrs €1,000 Single over 55 yrs €2,000 Married or in a Civil Partnership Widowed or a Surviving Civil Partner Under 55 years €2,000 Married or in a Civil Partnership Widowed or a Surviving Civil Partner Over 55 years €3,600 Other income tax changes Maternity Benefit will be taxable for all claimants. Universal Social Chargewill not be payable. (1 July 2013) Top Slicing Relief, which is a reduction of tax due on lump sum paymentswhen leaving employment, will not be available on lump sums of €200,000 ormore. It will apply to payments made on or after 1 January 2013. Tax relief on all charitable donations will now be claimed by the charitableorganisation at a single tax rate of 31%. The maximum qualifying amount will be€1 million. PRSI See below for details of PRSI changes. Universal Social Charge (USC) From 1 January 2013 reduced rates of USC will only apply to people aged 70years of age and over earning €60,000 or less and to medical card holdersunder 70 earning €60,000 or less. People with incomes of €10,036 or lesscontinue to be exempt from USC. Local Property Tax (LPT) The Local Property Tax (LPT) will come into force on 1 July 2013. A halfyear payment will be due for the second half of 2013, with a full year paymentdue in 2014. The property owner will be liable for the LPT. This includes localauthorities and social housing organisations. Where the property is valued at €1 million or lower, the tax will be basedon the mid-point of the relevant band at a rate of 0.18%. For properties valuedover €1 million the tax will be charged at 0.18% on the first €1 million ofvalue and 0.25% on any balance in excess of €1 million, with no bandingapplied. Payment can be made by credit or debit card, cash, direct debit or byvoluntary deduction at source from Irish salary or wages, occupational pensionsor certain payments from the Department of Social Protection and the Departmentof Agriculture, Food and the Marine. If the LPT is not paid, a charge will attach to the property which must bepaid if the property is sold or the ownership transferred. The Revenue Commissioners will send out an explanatory booklet on theoperation of LPT, including valuation procedures, in March 2013. Valuation will be by self-assessment in 2013 and those valuations will beused until the end of 2016. Exemptions The exemptions from the LPT will be the same as those applied to theHousehold Charge, with the following additional exemptions: New and previously unoccupied homes purchased between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2016 will be exempt up to the end of 2016. Second-hand property purchased by a first time buyer between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2013 will be exempt until the end of 2016. Local Property Tax Table Valuation Band € Mid Point Rate Full Year Property Tax 2013 Property Tax 0 – 100,000 50,000 0.18% 90 45 100,001 – 150,000 125,000 0.18% 225 112 150,001 – 200,000 175,000 0.18% 315 157 200,001 – 250,000 225,000 0.18% 405 202 250,001 – 300,000 275,000 0.18% 495 247 300,001 – 350,000 325,000 0.18% 585 292 350,001 – 400,000 375,000 0.18% 675 337 400,001 – 450,000 425,000 0.18% 765 382 450,001 – 500,000 475,000 0.18% 855 427 500,001 – 550,000 525,000 0.18% 945 472 550,001 – 600,000 575,000 0.18% 1,035 517 600,001 – 650,000 625,000 0.18% 1,125 562 650,001 – 700,000 675,000 0.18% 1,215 607 700,001 – 750,000 725,000 0.18% 1,305 652 750,001 – 800,000 775,000 0.18% 1,395 697 800,001 – 850,000 825,000 0.18% 1,485 742 850,001 – 900,000 875,000 0.18% 1,575 787 900,001 – 950,000 925,000 0.18% 1,665 832 950,001 – 1,000,000 975,000 0.18% 1,755 877 Properties worth more than €1 million will be assessed on the actual value at 0.18% on the first €1 million and 0.25% on the portion above €1 million. Voluntary deferrals People with gross incomes of up to €15,000 (single) and €25,000(couples) can defer the full LPT until their financial circumstances improve orthe property is sold. Certain deferral arrangements are also available for people at higher levelsof income, and for people whose income is less than a certain percentage oftheir annual mortgage interest. Some owner-occupiers may be eligible to apply for marginal relief, whichwill allow them to defer up to 50% of their LPT liability. Interest will be charged on deferred amounts at a rate of 4% per annum. Further information in Revenue’s FAQs. Household Charge and Non-Principal Private Residence (NPPR) Charge The Household Charge will be abolished from 1 January 2013 and the NPPR willcease with effect from 1 January 2014. Outstanding charges will be collectedthrough the LPT system. For more information see AnnexB Local Property Tax (LPT) on budget.gov.ie (PDF). Pensions There is no change in tax relief on pension contributions in 2013, but from2014 relief will be limited to pensions of €60,000. There will be a once-off option to withdraw up to 30% of the value of fundedAdditional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) made to supplement retirementbenefits. Withdrawals will be liable to tax at an individual’s marginal rate.The option to withdraw will be available for 3 years from the passing ofFinance Bill 2013. Capital taxes The rates of Capital Acquisitions Tax and Capital Gains Tax will beincreased to 33% from 30% from 5 December 2012. The current group tax-free thresholds for Capital Acquisitions Tax are beingreduced by 10%. These reductions apply in respect of gifts or inheritancestaken after 5 December 2012. CAT thresholds after 5 December 2012 Group A reduced from €250,000 to €225,000 Applies where the beneficiary is a child (including adopted child, step-child and certain foster children) or minor child of a deceased child of the disponer. Parents also fall within this threshold where they take an inheritance of an absolute interest from a child. Group B reduced from €33,500 to €30,150 Applies where the beneficiary is a brother, sister, niece, nephew or lineal ancestor or lineal descendant of the disponer. Group C reduced from €16,750 to €15,075 Applies in all other cases. Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) The rate of DIRT will be increased to 33% for payments made annually or morefrequently and 36% for payments made less frequently than annually. It will apply to payments made on or after 1 January 2013. Motor taxes See below for details of changes to motortaxes. Farming taxes The general rate of stock relief of 25% will be extended for a further 3years to 2015 and the Young Trained Farmers rate of stock relief of 100% willbe extended for a further 3 years to 2015. There will be amendments to thedefinition of registered partnerships for stock relief. The farmer’sflat-rate addition will be reduced from 5.2% to 4.8% with effect from 1 January2013. Capital Gains Tax relief for land restructuring will also beintroduced. VAT The 9% VAT rate applied to tourism will be maintained in 2013. The annual VAT cash receipts basis threshold for small and mediumenterprises is being increased from €1 million to €1.25 million with effectfrom 1 May 2013. Excise duties Alcohol products tax The excise duty on a pint of beer or cider and on a standard measure ofspirits is being increased by 10c (including VAT); the duty on a 75cl bottle ofwine is being increased by €1 (including VAT), with pro-rata increases onother products. These increases take effect from midnight on 5 December2012. Tobacco products tax The excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes is being increased by 10c(including VAT) with a pro-rata increase on the other tobacco products, witheffect from midnight on 5 December 2012. The excise duty on roll-your-owntobacco is also being increased by 50c per 25g pouch with effect from midnighton 5 December 2012. Carbon tax The carbon tax will be extended to solid fuels on a phased basis. A rate of€10 per tonne will be applied with effect from 1 May 2013 and a rate of €20per tonne from 1 May 2014. Auto-diesel excise duty relief for licensed road hauliers A relief from excise duty on auto-diesel for licensed road hauliers will beintroduced from 1 July 2013. Under State Aid rules, Ireland must inform the EUCommission. Social Welfare Expenditure under the Department of Social Protection will be €20.26billion in 2013. Net savings of €390 million are to be achieved in 2013rather than the €540 million that had been forecast. Further reductions of€440 million will be required in 2014. There will be no changes to the rates of primary weekly social welfarepayments and pensions. People of working age Jobseeker’s Benefit The duration of Jobseeker’s Benefit will be reduced by 3 months with effectfrom 3 April 2013. For people with 260 or more PRSI contributions paid, it willreduce from 12 months to 9 months. For people with fewer than 260 PRSIcontributions paid, it will reduce from 9 months to 6 months. Claimants getting Jobseeker’s Benefit for 6 months or more on 3 April 2013(or 3 months for people with fewer than 260 contributions) will not beaffected. Farm Assist The assessment of means from self-employment, including farming, will beraised from 85% to 100%. The deductions from income for children are beingdiscontinued (currently €127 per year for each of the first two dependentchildren and €190.50 per year for each subsequent child). (April 2013) Back to Education Allowance The Cost of Education Allowance (currently €300) payable to Back toEducation Allowance participants will be discontinued for new and existingparticipants. (2013) The weekly rate payable to new Back to Education Allowance participants willbe equal to their previous social protection payment. (1 January 2013) A standard maximum rate of €160 per week will apply to new Back toEducation Allowance participants who were previously getting an age-relatedreduced rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance. (1 January 2013) Note: The weekly rate paid to new participants on the Vocational TrainingOpportunities Scheme (VTOS), Youthreach and FÁS further education and trainingprogrammes who move from jobseeker’s payments will also be matched to theirprevious social welfare payment. However, people under 25 who were getting anage-related reduced rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance will get a standard maximumrate of €160 per week. (1 January 2013) Maternity Benefit Maternity Benefit will be taxable for all claimants. Universal Social Chargewill not be payable. (1 July 2013) Employment schemes See below for details of changes to employmentschemes. Children and Families Child Benefit Child Benefit rates will be reduced to €130 per month for the 1st, 2nd and3rd child. (January 2013) Child Benefit rates will be €140 per month for the 4th and subsequentchildren (announced in Budget 2012). (January 2013) From the following year, the monthly rate for the 4th and subsequentchildren will be €130. (January 2014) Child Benefit Number of children 2012 monthly rate 2013 monthly rate 2013 annual rate 1 child €140.00 €130.00 €1,560.00 2 children €280.00 €260.00 €3,120.00 3 children €428.00 €390.00 €4,680.00 4 children €588.00 €530.00 €6,360.00 5 children €748.00 €670.00 €8,040.00 6 children €908.00 €810.00 €9,720.00 7 children €1,068.00 €950.00 €11,400.00 8 children €1,228.00 €1,090.00 €13,080.00 Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance will reduce by €50 perchild. This means that the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance willreduce from €250 to €200 for children aged 12-17 or aged 18-22 in full-timeeducation and from €150 to €100 for children aged 4-11 years. (2013) One-Parent Family Payment The age reductions in the One-Parent Family Payment which were due to applyfrom the beginning of 2013 and 2014 are being deferred to the beginning of Julyin each of those years. In addition, the period over which the transitionalarrangements applying to existing recipients are to apply, will be extendedfrom the end of 2014 to the beginning of July 2015. This change will providemore time for the creation of additional childcare places (see also ‘ChildrenPlus Initiative’ below). This provision requires legislation and is not yet ineffect. (This measure was not announced in Budget 2013 – it was inserted intothe Social Welfare Bill 2012.) Carers There are no changes to rates of carer’s payments, to the half-rateCarer’s Allowance or to the extra payment for caring for more than 1person. Respite Care Grant The annual Respite Care Grant will reduce from €1,700 to €1,375 for eachperson receiving care. (2013) Older people There are no changes to State pension rates. State Pension (Contributory) There will be changes to the definition of ‘yearly average’ and‘alternative yearly average’ to enable rounding of figures. The increase inthe number of qualifying contributions required (from 260 to 520) will now alsoapply to people getting reduced rate pensions on or after 1 January 2013. Special pro-rata pensions for people with intermittent insurance (paid topeople who had problems meeting yearly average requirements because they werenot compulsorily insured before 1974) are being abolished. State Pension Transition New reduced rates of pension are payable for people who qualify for pensionson or after 1 January 2013 with a reduced yearly average of contributions.These reduced rates also apply to increases for qualified adults paid with thereduced rate pension. Household Benefits Package The value of the Telephone Allowance and the Electricity/Gas Allowanceelements of the Household Benefits package will reduce for new and existingrecipients. The value of the Telephone Allowance will be reduced. The new monthly rateof €9.50 will show as a credit on the customer’s bill or be paid as a cashallowance. (January 2013) The Electricity/Gas Allowance will be set at a single rate based on theaverage market rate across all suppliers currently available (for an unchanged150 units per month). The new rate of €35 per month will show as a cashcredit for those who receive a bill or be paid as a cash allowance. (January2013) There are frequentlyasked questions on changes to the Household Benefits Package onwelfare.ie. There are no changes to the Fuel Allowance, Free Travel, Free TV Licenceschemes or Living Alone Allowance. Children Plus Initiative From 2013 on, €14 million per year will be allocated from the Departmentof Social Protection to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to fund ajoint initiative that will provide over 6,000 after-school childcare places forchildren in primary school. This will be targeted at children from low-incomefamilies whose parents are availing of an employment opportunity (who engagewith the Department of Social Protection’s INTREO service). It is envisagedthat interested childcare providers, both community and commercial, will bepaid a subsidy where a parent is referred by the Department of SocialProtection under the initiative. The initiative will commence with a pilotscheme in early 2013. An additional €2 million will be allocated to the School Meals Programme. €2.5 million in funding will be allocated to the Department of Childrenand Youth Affairs for its Area-Based Child Poverty Initiative. This initiativewill be co-funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs andphilanthropic partners. PRSI The Employee’s PRSI-Free Allowance of €127 per week (for those paying PRSIClass A, E and H) and €26 per week (for those paying PRSI Class B, C and D)will be abolished. (January 2013) Employees who earn €352 or less per week continue to have no liability tomake a PRSI contribution and are not affected by the abolition of the weeklyPRSI-Free Allowance. Currently, employees who pay PRSI at Classes B, C and D are exempt from PRSIon self-employed earned income (from a profession or trade) and any otherunearned income (for example, rental income.) This exemption will be abolished.All such income will become liable to PRSI at the rate of 4%. (1 January2013) Unearned income for everyone else will become subject to PRSI in 2014. Thismeans that PRSI will be payable on income generated from wealth such as rentalincome, investment income, dividends and interest on deposits and savings.(2014) The minimum annual PRSI contribution for people with annual self-employedincome over €5,000 will increase from €253 per annum to €500. (2013) Voluntary contributions The flat-rate voluntary contribution paid by a formerly self-employed personis being increased from €253 to €500. Former contributors at Classes A, Hand E will continue to pay voluntary contributions at 6.6% but their minimumpayment will increase from €317 to €500. Former contributors at modifiedrates continue to pay voluntary contributions at 2.6% but their minimum paymentwill increase from €126 to €250 (1 January 2013) Miscellaneous savings The cost to the Department of Social Protection of medical certificates forillness and disability-related schemes will be reduced. This is anadministrative saving in the Department. Savings will be achieved on Exceptional Needs Payments under theSupplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme. Overpayment recovery Up to 15% of a person’s weekly social welfare payment can be deducted forthe purpose of recovering an overpayment. A person is not entitled tocompensate for any overpayment deduction by getting an additional payment ofSupplementary Welfare Allowance. Redundancy payments The employer rebate of statutory redundancy payments (currently 15%) will bediscontinued. (January 2013) Rates of payment Social insurance payments Maximum weekly rates Weekly personal rate Increase for a qualified adult Child rate 2012 2013 2012 2013 State Pension (Contributory)/(Transition) Under age 80 €230.30 €230.30 €153.50 (Note1) €153.50 (Note 1) €29.80 Age 80 and over €240.30 €240.30 €206.30 (Note 2) €206.30 (Note 2) €29.80 Widow’s/Widower’s/Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension/Deserted Wife’s Benefit Under age 66 €193.50 €193.50 €29.80 Aged 66 and under age 80 €230.30 €230.30 €29.80 Aged 80 and over €240.30 €240.30 €29.80 Invalidity Pension Under age 65 €193.50 €193.50 €138.10 (Note 1) €138.10 (Note 1) €29.80 Aged 65 €230.30 €230.30 €206.30 (Note 2) €206.30 (Note 2) €29.80 Carer’s Benefit/Constant Attendance Allowance €205.00 €205.00 €29.80 Disablement Benefit €219.00 €219.00 Jobseeker’s/Illness/Health & Safety/Injury Benefit €188.00 €188.00 €124.80 €124.80 €29.80 Death Benefit Under age 66 €218.50 €218.50 €29.80 Aged 66 and under age 80 €234.70 €234.70 €29.80 Aged 80 and over €244.70 €244.70 €29.80 Social assistance payments Maximum weekly rates Weekly personal rate Increase for a qualified adult Child rate 2012 2013 2012 2013 State Pension (Non-Contributory) Aged 66 and under age 80 €219.00 €219.00 €144.70 €144.70 €29.80 Age 80 and over €229.00 €229.00 €29.80 Carer’s Allowance Under age 66 €204.00 €204.00 €29.80 Aged 66 and over €239.00 €239.00 €29.80 Blind Pension €188.00 €188.00 €124.80 €124.80 €29.80 Widow’s/Widower’s/Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension €188.00 €188.00 Deserted Wife’s/Prisoner’s Wife’s Allowance €188.00 €188.00 One-Parent Family Payment €188.00 €188.00 €29.80 Pre-Retirement/Disability Allowance €188.00 €188.00 €124.80 €124.80 €29.80 Supplementary Welfare Allowance €186.00 €186.00 €124.80 €124.80 €29.80 Jobseeker’s Allowance €188.00 €188.00 €124.80 €124.80 €29.80 Farm Assist €188.00 €188.00 €124.80 €124.80 €29.80 Other social welfare allowances Weekly personal rate 2012 2013 Maternity/Adoptive Benefit – Maximum Rate €262.00 €262.00 Guardian’s Payment (Contributory)/(Non-Contributory) €161.00 €161.00 Note1: for those under age 66years Note2: for those aged 66 years orover Child Benefit Number of children 2012 monthly rate 2013 monthly rate 2013 annual rate 1 child €140.00 €130.00 €1,560.00 2 children €280.00 €260.00 €3,120.00 3 children €428.00 €390.00 €4,680.00 4 children €588.00 €530.00 €6,360.00 5 children €748.00 €670.00 €8,040.00 6 children €908.00 €810.00 €9,720.00 7 children €1,068.00 €950.00 €11,400.00 8 children €1,228.00 €1,090.00 €13,080.00 Family Income Supplement (FIS) Family size Current income limit 2013 income limit 1 child €506.00 €506.00 2 children €602.00 €602.00 3 children €703.00 €703.00 4 children €824.00 €824.00 5 children €950.00 €950.00 6 children €1,066.00 €1,066.00 7 children €1,202.00 €1,202.00 8 children or more €1,298.00 €1,298.00 Level of FIS payment will continue to be based on 60% of the shortfall between net weekly family income and the applicable weekly family threshold. Housing, Employment and Small andMedium Enterprises, Education and Training Housing Household Charge and NPPR The Household Charge will cease with effect from 1 January 2013. TheNon-Principal Private Residence (NPPR) Charge will cease with effect from 1January 2014. However, unpaid arrears together with any interest and penaltiesthat have accrued will remain a charge on the property to which they relate. The Revenue Commissioners will collect any unpaid Household Charge for 2012.Any arrears that are not discharged before 1 July 2013 will be increased to€200 and will be collected through the Local Property Tax system. Local Property Tax See above for details of the Local Property Tax. Mortgage interest relief It was confirmed that mortgage interest relief will not be given onmortgages taken out after 31 December 2012. Social housing An additional €10 million will be allocated to the Department of theEnvironment, Community and Local Government to facilitate delivering thesesocial housing units. It is expected that over 5,000 units will be provided in2013, including: 350 units for people with special housing needs 150 units specifically for people leaving institutional care An additional 400 permanent homes delivered through capital expenditure under the Social Housing Investment Programme 300 transfers under the mortgage-to-rent scheme Approximately 4,000 units to be delivered under social leasing, including property transfers from NAMA, the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and the proposed ‘mortgage-to-lease’ initiative. Urban regeneration Proposals for targeted incentives in already identified regeneration areaswill be explored. €80 million is being provided for the national regenerationprogramme. Employment and Small and Medium Enterprises SME Tax Reform Plan The SME 10 Point Tax Reform Plan has been announced to help small and mediumenterprises (SMEs) to assist their cash flow position and support theircreation of jobs. It includes the following measures: The 3 Year Corporation Tax Relief for Start Up Companies is being extended to allow any unused relief arising in the first 3 years of trading to be carried forward for use in subsequent years. This is subject to the maximum amount of relief in any one year not exceeding the eligible amount of Employers’ PRSI in that year. The Close Company Surcharge is being amended by increasing the de minimis level to €2,000 to reduce the administrative burden and assist cash flow Amount of expenditure eligible for the R&D Tax Credit on a full volume basis (without reference to the 2003 base year) is increased to €200,000 to encourage innovation and help cash flow Increase in the VAT cash receipts basis accounting threshold from €1 million to €1.25 million to help cash flow Extension of the Foreign Earnings Deduction for work related travel to specified countries to help boost demand for Irish goods and services abroad Extension of the Employment and Investment Incentive scheme to 2020 to help companies access funding Review of the ‘carried interest’ provision in the tax code to help small businesses to access funding Announcement of a joint Revenue and Department of Finance public consultation: ‘Taxation of Micro Enterprises: Reduction in Compliance Costs’ to identify ways to ease the administrative burden Credit initiatives and funding The following credit specific initiatives have been announced: Approval to the Credit Review Office (CRO) to extend the team of available reviewers so that SMEs seeking assistance from the CRO receive a considered and timely response to their application The publication by the CRO of specific guidance for SMEs on accessing credit from banks The National Pensions Reserve Fund is also developing a range of support funds to provide equity, finance and restructuring and recovery investment to the SME sector. The funds are expected to range in size from €100 million to €400 million Provision has been made within Enterprise Ireland for the development of anew ten-year €175 million Venture Capital Fund to fund new and expandingIrish companies. County Enterprise Boards are being restructured to provide a One-Stop-Shopfor small businesses through the local authority system. This reform will besupported with an allocation of over €26 million in 2013, which willfacilitate this transition and fund schemes to support small businesses acrossthe economy. Job creation The PlusOne initiative, which is currently being finalised, is intended toencourage employers to hire individuals that are long-term unemployed. It isenvisaged that this new incentive will replace the Revenue Job Assist and theEmployer PRSI Incentive schemes. Labour market activation schemes Additional €12 million in 2013 and €26 million in a full year toincrease the numbers of placements available on labour activation schemes asfollows: JobBridge: There will be 2,500 new JobBridge places increasing the number of places available to 8,500. Tús: There will be 2,500 new places on the Tús scheme which will increase the number of places available to 7,500. Community Employment (CE): there will be 2,000 additional places available on CE schemes. There will be 3,000 places in a new Local Authority Social Employment Scheme. Redundancy Redundancy Payments Scheme: The employer rebate of statutory redundancypayments (currently 15%) will be discontinued. (January 2013) Education and Training Third level Education The student contribution will increase by €250 per annum for the academicyears 2013/2014, 2014/2015 and 2015/2016. The income thresholds for entitlement to the student grant are reduced by 3%for people qualifying in 2013. Pupil/teacher ratio The pupil/teacher ratio for fee-paying post-primary schools will increase by2 points, from 21:1 to 23:1. (2013/2014) The pupil/teacher ratio in Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) programmes willalso increase by 2 points, changing from 17:1 to 19:1. The number of PLC placesshould not be affected. (2013/2014) Bullying The Department of Education and Skills will allocate €500,000 to tacklebullying in schools. The funding will be spent in line with the Action Plan onBullying to be published shortly. Further Education and Training Scheme New participants on the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS),Youthreach and FÁS further education and training programmes who move fromjobseeker’s payments will no longer have their new payments increased to themaximum €188 per week, if their jobseeker’s payment is less than this.However, people under 25 who were getting an age-related reduced rate ofJobseeker’s Allowance will get a standard maximum rate of €160 per week. (1January 2013) Labour market activation €48 million has been provided in the National Training Fund for labouractivation measures for the unemployed and targeted skills training in 2013. The National Training Fund expenditure will provide: €20 million under the Labour Market Education and Training Fund to provide 6,500 places in 2013 for people who are long-term unemployed €23 million for the Springboard initiative to increase the part-time higher education opportunities for unemployed people €5 million for a second phase of ICT Skills Conversion courses Other measures for schools The overhaul of the Junior Cycle will be supported by an investment of €3million in 2013, and €8.7 million in 2014. The Literacy and Numeracy Strategy will continue to be rolled out at a costof €6.5 million in 2013. Approximately 900 jobs will be created for teachers – 450 at primary leveland 450 at second level. Childcare A new After-School Childcare Scheme (part of the Children Plus Initiative)for primary school children will provide childcare to low-income families sothat they can take up employment. It is expected that the scheme will provideover 6,000 childcare places. A pilot scheme will start in early 2013. (See also‘Children Plus Initiative’ above) €2.5 million has been provided for a new ‘area-based approach to childpoverty’ initiative to further enhance targeted early-childcare and educationsupports for children in a number of disadvantaged areas. €5 million has been allocated to the Department of Children and YouthAffairs in 2013 to provide for a number of initiatives including a new capitalprogramme for Youth Cafes and other youth projects as well as schemes fundingplay and recreation and parent and toddler groups. The new Child and Family Support Agency will be established in 2013. Thiswill involve moving child welfare and protection services out of the HSE andcreating a new statutory body which will encompass both the NationalEducational Welfare Board and the Family Support Agency. Children’s Detention Centre Construction work on new facilities at the Oberstown Children’s DetentionCentre will begin in 2013. This development will provide for the transfer ofall 17-year-olds from St. Patrick’s Institution to Oberstown in 2014. Health, Environment, Motoring Health The threshold for the Drugs Payment Scheme will increase from €132 to€144 per month from January 2013. The prescription charge for Medical Card holders and people with Hepatitis Cwho have a Health Amendment Act Card will increase from 50c per item to €1.50per item, up to a monthly limit of €19.50 per family (increased from€10). The medical card weekly income limits for people aged over 70 will decreasefrom €700/€1,400 (single person/couple) to €600/€1,200. The medicalcard will be replaced with a GP Visit card if weekly income is in the range€600–€700 for a single person or €1,200–€1,400 for a couple. A further €35 million is allocated in 2013 for the continued developmentof mental health services. €15m is allocated to provide free GP care for people with certainprescribed illnesses. Professional fees for health service providers such as GPs will bereduced. Environment €9 million is allocated to improve the energy consumption of centralgovernment buildings up to 2015. Seed capital of €35 million is allocated for the Energy Efficiency Fund,with a view to establishing a leveraged fund of over €70 million. Motoring Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) Rates of VRT are being increased with effect from 1 January 2013. There is arevised structure for vehicles taxed on the basis of CO2 emissions. The VRT reliefs currently in place for electric vehicles (up to €5,000),plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (up to €2,500), and hybrid and flexible fuelvehicles (up to €1,500) are being retained for a further 12 months to the endof December 2013. Motor Tax Motor Tax rates across all categories apart from electric cars will increasewith effect from 1 January 2013. There is a revised structure for vehiclestaxed on the basis of CO2 emissions. Increases are being applied to motor taxrates for all other categories of vehicle also. There is a higher rate ofincrease in motor tax for cars taxed on the basis of CO2. Motor tax on electric cars will be reduced to €120. Findout more about the changes to rates of VRT and motor tax on budget.gov.ie(PDF). Vehicle registration A second registration period is being introduced in 2013. The sequence willtake the form of a separate 3-digit year identifier for the first and second6-month periods in the year, for example, 131 and 132 respectively. Driving licences A new plastic card driver licence will be introduced from 19 January 2013. From 1 January 2013 the cost of a licence or learner permit is asfollows: Ten-year licence fee – €55 Three-year licence fee – €35 One-year licence fee – €25 Exchange a foreign licence – €55 Learner permit – €35 Replace a lost licence or learner permit – €35 From 12 January 2013 it will cost €35 to make changes to an exitinglicence or learner permit, for example, add a new category. SOURCE :www.citizensinformation.ie

Are your gas and electricity bills too high?  10.12.2012


Well if they are the first thing to do is compare your electricity and gas providers.You can make savings from 5% up to 15% and more!
It will take a small amount of time but well worth the time and effort expended.
A very big concern of everyone is their utility bills and how much they are. If you get huge utility bills every month then they affect your entire budget very badly. People wish to reduce their bills but are not aware of the kind of effort that is required by them. Gas and electricity supply can be used in an effective way if you know the right tactics.
 

The first thing that you need to do for reducing your electricity bills is to make sure that any kind of electrical appliance is switched off when you discontinue using it. Most people are not aware of the fact that if they leave their electric appliances on stand by mode that they then still consume electricity and hence it makes up to the 10% of their bills. Do not also forget to switch off the fans or air-conditioner and lights if you are about to leave the room. You can also prevent extremely hot sun rays from seeping in to your room by closing blinds and curtains during summer season and also keeping the heat in the house/apartment in the winter. Hence it will prove to be helpful for your electricity bills because your air-conditioner will require less time for heating/cooling your rooms.
You do not need to wash your clothes on very high temperature always. There are numerous washing detergents that remove dirt from your clothes easily even if your washing machine is working on low temperature settings. It is better to read instructions written on the booklet that is provided with your electrical appliance that enables you to use it effectively at a low temperature. Read the instructions and follow them properly. This will surely reduce your electric bills.
When it comes to reducing gas bills you should switch on your hot-water geysers only when you need to use hot water. Do not keep it switched on all day long. These geysers consume a lot of gas and increase your gas bills considerably. Moreover during winters you need not to keep your heaters on all day long when you can wear warm clothing to stay warm within your house too.
It is advisable to keep a check at your electrical and gas appliances to see if they are working properly. You need to get your appliances inspected and serviced regurlarly by an electrician/plunber and ask them about the preventive measures that can be taken to reduce cost of utility bills.
By making a little extra effort and using your appliances with care you will see noticeable reduction in your utility bills. Gas and electric supply can be utilized effectively according to your use. Ask other members of your family as well to switch on the electronic devices only when they need to use them. Thus these tips will enable you to save money from your utility bills and use it to fulfill your other needs.

Save over €5000 per year…

Valid as of 1st Oct 2010

Product

Worst

 Worst  p/m

Best

Best     p/m

Saving

Broadband

Home Broadband

 Eircom 7  Meg

 €61.73

UPC 5 Meg existing customer

 €35.00

 €320.76

Car Insurance

Skoda Octavia 2005; 5 yrs NCB;

3rd Party, Fire & Theft cover

 Allianz

 €633.00

Freetocompare (Sertus Standard)

 €310.00

 €323.00

Car Loan

Car Loan 20k over 5 years

 AIB New  car

 €5,139.24

PTSB new car

€4931.52

 €207.72

Credit Card

€1,500 Credit Limit Assumed

 Ulster Bank  Classic  17.9% APR

 €1,629.86

MBNA interest free 10 months; 14.9% purchases thereafter

 €1,519.39

 €110.47

Current Account 

Overdraft maintained at €3,000

 Ulster Bank  13.55%

 €3,212.42

NIB easy plus account 10.256%

 €3,169.20

 €43.22

Electricity

€1,400 per year electricity usage

 ESB

 €1,400.00

Bord Gais DD & Natural Gas

 €1,204.00

 €196.00

Health Insurance

2 Adults 2 Kids Semi Private

 VHI Plan B

 € 2,252.16

Aviva We Plan Level 2 XS

 €1,886.80

 €365.36

House Insurance

450K build, 63k contents

 AIB

 €700.00

Freetocompare

 €617.00

 €83.00

Life Insurance

250k 40 year ld n/s

 Caledonian

€2790.84

Zurich

 €2,202.00

 €588.84

Lump Sum Deposit

10,000 euro investment

 PTSB 35    Day notice    Account    3.35% AER

 €10,335.00

AIB Access 30 2.01% AER

 €10,201.00

 €134.00

Mortgage

350,000 over 20 years LTV >80%

PTSB

APR 4.6%

€2223.21 p/m

BOI

APR 3.1%

€1958.66 p/m

€3294.60

Motor Breakdown Insurance

Rescue & homestart

 AA

 €194.00

Freetocompare (Blue Insurance)

 €69.00

 €125.00

Personal Loan

15,000 over 3 years

 BOI  Personal  loan  12.55%

 €5,958.36

AIB Personal Loan 10.55%

 €5,815.44

 €142.92

Travel Insurance

Multi Trip Worldwide with Health insurance discount

 AIB

 €92.00

Blue Insurance

 €77.60

 €14.40

TOTAL SAVINGS

 €5949.29

FREETOCOMPARE PROVIDES BEST QUOTES FOR NICK WEBB’S ‘SURVIVING THE RECESSION’ COLUMN IN SUNDAY INDEPENDENT

Independent.ie Logo

Sunday February 28 2010

Sunday February 7 2010

Sunday January 24 2010

Sunday December 20 2009

Sunday November 29 2009

Sunday February 28 1010

Credit cards Family health insurance Used car loans Apartment insurance Lecky bills

You’d need to be about as thick as Ashley Cole to have one of the dreadful Ulster Bank standard credit cards. They are rubbish. These useless bits of plastic have an interest rate double that of the cheapest card on the market. AIB’s click card is an internet-only card; for those who can’t use the interweb, try NIB’s credit cards. Based on €5,000 credit card debt.

Best: AIB Click — 8.5 per cent

Avoid: Ulster Bank standard Mastercard — 17.9 per cent.

Saving: Up to €470 per year

contact www.aib.ie or your local branch

Family health insurance

Trying to figure out which health insurance policy fits your family best is ridiculously complicated. The insurers spend ages trying to muddy the waters between policies. Check out the www.freetocompare.ie website which crunches through the waffle. Health insurance for a family with two kids. Semi-private room plus basic day-to-day cover.

Best: VHI First Plan Level 1 — €1,830

Avoid: Aviva Health Level 1 Everyday– €1,960

Saving: €130

contact www.vhi.ie or 1850 444444

Used car loans

The scrappage deals are pretty good. There hasn’t been a better time to buy a car for yonks. But can you get your bank to cough up? A loan of €20,000 repayable over five years for a used car. Figures from www.freetocompare.ie

Best: BoI Finance — €409.28 per month

Avoid: Ulster Bank — €437.38

Saving: €1,686 over term of loan.

contact www.bankofireland.ie or your local bank

Apartment insurance

Apartments are usually partially covered under annual maintenance fees. But contents aren’t usually included. Contents cover of €60,000 for a 35-year-old couple in an apartment in Dublin’s Docklands. Alarmed. No claims for five years, excess €200. Including accidental damage cover.

Best: Chrome Insurance — €135.00

Avoid: Benchmark — €358.00

Saving: €223.00

contact www.chromeinsurance.ie or 1890 247663.

Lecky bills

Switching your electricity away from the gold-plated, hyper expensive ESB is a no-brainer. It takes less than five minutes. All you need are your bank account details and an old ESB bill. Bord Gais is up to 14 per cent cheaper, with green energy provider Airtricity up to 13 per cent cheaper than ESB. The highest savings can be made if you are already a Bord Gais customer and agree to pay by direct debit. Based on a €1,000 annual bill for a three-bed semi.

Best: Bord Gais €875

Avoid: ESB: €1,000

Saving: €125

contact www.thebigswitch.ie or 1850 485868

Sunday February 7 2010

Mobile broadband Learner driver insurance Super-duper health cover Mortgage protection Pet insurance Life insurance Whoops, sorry…

OK, so it sponsors the rugby, the Point and a stack of GAA stuff — but it’s still not very good value. O2’s dongley thing is the most expensive deal offered by the major players — including Meteor, Vodafone and 3. Average monthly cost calculated by callcosts.ie

Best: Imagine Wimax 3mb €14.17

Avoid: O2 Clear 3Mb €21.48

Saving: €87.72 per year

contact www.imagine.ie or call 1890 9299007

Learner driver insurance

Not even Jim Corr could deny the irreversible damage caused by a learner driver to a shiny new clutch. Fully comp cover for a 50-year-old Carlow woman with no points or claims for five years, driving a 2007 Fiat Punto 1.2L worth €9k. Parked off road. Excess €200, and alarmed. And with an 18-year-old female named driver who has had her provisional licence for one year. No claims or points. No cover for death rays. Quotes from www.chromeinsurance.ie

Best: Quinn €813 per year

Avoid: AXA €1,320.00

Saving: €507 a year

contact www.quinn-direct.com or 1890 89 1890

Super-duper health cover

Gold-plated health cover gets you a private room in a top private hospital. All the nurses look like Amy Huberman and you’d almost be safe eating the food. Quinn has a sneaky 3 per cent surcharge if paying monthly (nearly €70 a year in this case). Quotes from www.freetocompare.ie

Best: Quinn Essential Gold €2,215

Avoid: VHI Plan E €2,832

Saving: €617

contact www.quinnhealth.ie

Mortgage protection

Only seven months to go until the new Lansdowne Road stadium reopens. Ever wondered how Aviva could spend so much on buying the naming rights? Here’s a hint. Have a look at how much it charges for mortgage protection… double the price of the best deal on the market for decreasing cover on €75,000/15-year cover for two 40-year-old non-smokers. Quotes from www.freetocompare.ie.

Best: Zurich Life €10.12 per month

Avoid: Aviva €20

Saving: €118.56 per year

contact www.zurichlife.ie or 01-7992711

Pet insurance

Cover for a three-year-old male mongrel in Rathfarnham, Dublin 14. The beast is untagged, and has no health problems. Excess €150. Online insurer www.123.ie has a dirt-cheap accident-only premium of €83.95 — but doesn’t Fido deserve the best?

Best: 123.ie premium €149.92

Avoid: Allianz €157.21

Saving: €7.29

contact www.123.ie or 1890 221123

Life insurance

Chances are that you won’t get rubbed out unless you have a big policy. Probably not the best selling point for life cover. A policy worth €400,000 over 20 years for a 45-year- old male smoker. Chill.ie is offering a fairly chunky 60 per cent discount in the first year. Year two isn’t quite so pleasant.

Best: Chill.ie €477.75 per year

Avoid: Canada Life €1,554.36

Saving: €1,076.61

contact www.chill.ie or 1890 30 20 20

Whoops, sorry…

Last week’s figures for the interest paid on an €80,000 lump sum lodged with Investec, Permo or Ulster were plum bonkers and horribly wrong. Sorry. Sadly, 3.6 per cent is about as good as you’ll get.

Sunday January 24 2010

Ski travel insurance Phone, TV and broadband combo Family health cover Flat insurance Car insurance Gas charges

Annual worldwide travel insurance including cover for a family heading off on the piste costs a proverbial arm or leg at VHI. The cheapest deal is from Multitrip, which also has a €3.50 handling fee, which you’ll come across halfway through buying the policy online.

Best: multitrip.com €49.99

Avoid: VHI €160

Saving: €110.01

contact multitrip.com or call 0818-444 444

Phone, TV and broadband combo

Splat! That’s the sound of Sky and Eircom crashing down. Chorus Ntl has kicked off a brutal price war and is absolutely crucifying Sky and Eircom on price. For a home phone, 5mb of broadband, calls and decent telly including Sky Sports and the somewhat rubbish ESPN.

Best: UPC Fibre Sports €960 per year

Avoid: Sky Mix 4 plus sports/Eircom Talktime chatter with 3mb broadband. €1,485

Saving: €525

contact upc.ie or call 1890-940 624

Family health cover

Fairly basic health cover for a family of four. Watch out for a particularly nasty and sneaky trick from Quinn. It lobs on an extra 3 per cent charge if you pay monthly. Cheap in more ways than one. Quotes from freetocompare.ie

Best: Quinn Essential starter €1,100 per year.

Avoid: Worst: VHI Plan A €1,520

Saving: €410

contact quinnhealth.ie or call 1890-221 123

Flat insurance

Annual management charges mean that you’re generally covered if your apartment block is damaged. But you’ll still need contents cover. Cover for €60,000-worth of gear in a €350,000 flat in Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2. No claims for yonks, usual alarms and excess of €200.

Best: Simply Mortgages €127

Avoid: Benchmark €302

Saving: €175

contact simplymortgages.ie or else call 1890-746 472

Car insurance

The big insurance companies are big for a reason. They absolutely fleece you with the cost of car insurance. We can’t think of a time that Axa came in with the best car quote. Steer well clear if you want to save money. Fully comprehensive cover for a 2009 Toyota Avensis for a 30-year-old woman driver from Killarney, Co Kerry. Apart from two points, there’s a spotless record. Parked off road, alarmed and with a nodding dog in the back window. Quotes from Chrome insurance.ie

Best: 123.ie €401.53

Avoid: AXA (broker) €839

Saving: €437.47 a year

contact 123.ie or call 1890-221 123

Gas charges

Bord Gais may the cheapest for electricity, but it’s getting badly undercut in its core business of gas. Flogas is now miles cheaper. Cost for an average user of 20,000 thingummy gas units per year. Switch now.

Best: Flogas €880.30

Avoid: Bord Gais €960.66

Saving: €80.36

contact flogasnaturalgas.ie or call 1850-928 100

 

Sunday December 20 2009

Save €150 a month to pay for a trip to see Santa up in Lapland in December 2010… assuming there’s still some snow after the Copenhagen summit. Ulster Bank‘s Easy Access account pays 0.01 per cent, which is just for stupid people.Bank of Ireland‘s Easy Saver is marginally less awful, but still pretty bad.

Best: AIB parent saver €48.75 in interest

Avoid: Bank of Ireland Easy Saver €31.69

Saving: €17.06 over a year

Car loan

The scrappage deal wasn’t exactly gold-plated, but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick. With car tax topping out at €2,100 per year for something silly like a Hummer, it could be smart to switch to something smaller and greener with a €104 per year tax rate. Borrow €25,000 over three years to buy a new motor in January. New car loans are generally a wee bit cheaper than those for second-hand clunkers. Quotes from freetocompare.ie

Best: BOI Finance €777.66 per month

Avoid: Halifax €811.21

Saving: €1,207.80 over term of loan

Car insurance

Axa isn’t exactly pulling up trees when it comes to providing cheap car insurance. In fact, it’s never topped our best price list. Ever. Ever. Ever. Fully comp car insurance for a €15,000-valued 2007 Nissan Primera 1.8l for a 50-year-old Lucan woman with no points and eight-plus years no claims. Excess €200. Car alarmed and parked on a drive.

Best: Quinn Direct €335

Avoid: Axa Freedom First Basic €756

Saving: €421

Teenage mobile phones

Stumpy-fingered teenagers sending 600 texts per month plus 100 minutes of calls, split between other mobiles and landlines, would be worth hooking up with 3 Mobile, based on figures from www.callcosts.ie.

Best: 3 Best of both worlds €25 per month

Avoid: Vodafone Simply €45.58

Saving: €246.96 per year

Backpacker travel insurance

Grow a beard, get some dreadlocks together and spend the year backpacking in Australia. Smashing place except for the people. Or rather, the sports fans. And the spiders.

Best: Backpackercover.ie €129.99

Avoid: Usit €363

Saving: €234

Life cover

Loose carpet on the stairs, toasters perched at the edge of the bath, Christmas present of a savage pitbull? These could be signs that your family is after the big fat pay-out from your insurance company if you have a nasty accident. For €250,000 life cover over 25 years for a 40-year- old male non-smoker with no underlying health problems. Indexed with no conversion option. Serious illness cover whacks up the premium nearly five fold. It’d be about €40 per month for the life cover by itself with Zurich.

Best: Hibernian Aviva €178.41 per month

Avoid: Caledonian Life €219.99

Saving: €498.96

Home insurance

Cover for a €600,000 bijou residence in Dalkey, Co Dublin, €300,000 rebuild, 20 per cent contents. Usual locks and alarms. No claims for five years. For 65-year-old woman.

Best: Simply Mortgages €251

Avoid: RSA €642.99

Saving: €391.99

Sunday Independent

Sunday November 29 2009

Mobile Phones

O2 will have the shirt off your back. And not in a good way. The Spanish-owned mobile phone company is just far too expensive.

Figures from the Telecoms regulator or callcosts.ie show that O2’s best, best deal for the national average of 232 anytime minutes of calls — half to other mobiles — plus 150 texts per month is way out of whack with everyone else.

O2 is damn near double the price. In fact, they show that for 100 minutes and texts per month, all the way up to 1,000 minutes and texts per month, O2 is miles dearer than everyone else. Run away fast.

Best: Meteor Bill Pay €20, Connect €25.71

Avoid: O2 Clear Sim 175 €45.30

Saving: €218.40 per year

Mortgages

We don’t believe them either. The banks say that they are open for business and lending lots of money. On what planet? First-time buyer mortgage of €350,000 over 25 years with a 90 per cent LTV. Quotes from Simply Mortgages and freetocompare.ie.

Variable

Best: AIB €1,596 per month

Avoid: Ulster Bank €1,837.78

Saving: €2,901.36 per year

Two-year fixed

Best: Bank of Ireland/ICS €1,596.72 per month

Avoid: Ulster €1,886.30

Saving: €3,474.96 per year

Five-year fixed

Best: AIB €1,819 per month

Avoid: Ulster €2,035.88

Saving: €2,592 per year

Personal loan

Borrow €8,000 over two years to clear your credit card debt. Or to do something nice… like buy a Yamaha VX deluxe jetski. You’ll pay through the nose at Halifax. Quotes from Simply Mortgages.

Best: AIB €367.28

Avoid: Halifax €379.24

Saving: €287.04 over term of loan

Regular savings

The best “saving up for stuff” interest rate can be found in regular savings accounts. But you’ll need to lob money in every month and read page upon page upon page of terms and conditions. Saving €100 per month for a year with quotes from freetocompare.ie

Best: AIB Parent saver €1,232.50

Avoid: Bank of Ireland Easysaver €1,206.50

Saving: €26

Electricity

Save a few polar bears and a big wodge of cash by switching your electricity away from the ESB. Green (or somewhat green) energy provider Airtricity is up to 13 per cent cheaper than the ESB. But Bord Gais Energy is up to 14 per cheaper in the first year, if you sign a direct debit and are a gas customer already. Switch to Bord Gais for a year and then over to Airtricity. On an average bill of €200 per month.

Best: Bord Gais €172 per month

Avoid: ESB €200

Saving: €336 per year

Car hire

You’ll need a PhD in spoofery to get to the bottom of foreign holiday car rental costs, but there are big savings to be had by sniffing around online. Renting a cheapo economy motor for two weeks in Marbella next summer for a 35-year-old male with a full licence.

Best: freetocompare.ie €414.58

Avoid: Avis €571.79

Saving: €157.21

Sunday Independent

The Kingdom 9/7/09

KERRY consumers looking to cash in on a good deal in these recessionary times should check out ireland’s newest online price comparison service, freetocompare.ie.

It enables consumers to compare Irish financial products, broadband, mobile phones, travel and shopping, free of charge.

Research shows that a huge percentage of Irish people do not compare more than three providers when they are making a purchase, and the main reason for this is the hassle and inconvenience of checking the prices from different sources. freetocompare.ie aims to simplify the process by allowing the consumer to compare all the products in a particular sector in the one place.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Free energy survey

The ESB are now providing a free energy survey which will enable the consumer to save money on their energy costs.The reference name of the survey is called “HALO” and if you log on to www.esb.ie you will be able to get more info and apply and see if you qualify! There are a few questions that you need to answer and your house needs to have built before 1980.