Budget 2023: €15 welfare increases and €400 tax credit for tenants at the center of last-minute budget talks

Demands for a €400 tax credit for tenants and a €15 increase in welfare rates are the main bones of contention as coalition leaders try to agree on the final details of the budget.

ianna Fáil is pushing for a €400 tax credit for renters, while Fine Gael is calling for a €15-a-week increase in social rates.

Meanwhile, the Greens are pushing for a comprehensive childcare package that will lower fees for parents.

The three leaders of the coalition – Micheál Martin, Leo Varadkar and Eamon Ryan – are meeting with Treasury Secretary Paschal Donohoe and Public Expenditure Secretary Michael McGrath at government buildings to iron out a series of issues ahead of Tuesday’s budget.

Housing Secretary Darragh O’Brien has sought the introduction of a tax credit to help renters while reducing the tax burden on landlords. There is debate over whether the renter tax credit should be €200 or €400 a year, with government sources suggesting the latter would be more palatable to voters.

It’s unclear if landlords will receive a significant tax break at this point. Those responsible are examining whether the tax relief for pre-letting expenses could be extended.

Social Protection Secretary Heather Humphreys has pushed for a €15 increase in welfare rates but is met with opposition from Mr McGrath, who warns other areas need to be considered.

Mr McGrath points in his negotiations to the one-off living expenses package that could reach €3 billion and include a range of dual benefits including child benefits. But Ms Humphreys insisted €15 a week is needed to support pensioners, carers and people with disabilities.

A senior Fine Gael source said Fianna Fáil was putting too much emphasis on the one-off spending measures. The Greens are also said to be frustrated by this approach.

Leaders are expected to make a final decision on what can be spent on new tax credits and benefits in the coming hours.

An agreement was reached to increase the 40 per cent income tax band by €2,500, meaning workers earning less than €39,300 will not have to pay the higher tax rate.

The move will result in significant savings for taxpayers – with a single person earning €50,000 taking home at least an additional €500 a year under the plan agreed by the coalition parties.

Excise duty cuts on petrol and diesel are set to be extended, while VAT cuts on energy bills will remain in place for the coming months.

Electricity credits of up to 600 euros are to be deducted in two or three installments in the coming months.

There is still confusion as to whether a program to help businesses struggling with energy costs will work.

The Greens are said to have pushed through the extension of the reductions in public transport fees. However, a government source said they had not achieved further reductions they had been looking for.

Arts Secretary Catherine Martin secured €6 million to launch a new media funding program that will initially prioritize local democracy and court reporting, while supporting local, national print and broadcasting.

A new Media Development Commissioner (one of three under the new Media Commission) to oversee funding and development of the sector will also be selected by November. Ms Martin has also been a strong advocate for reducing VAT on print media to zero, and has been campaigning with Cabinet colleagues to do so since July after her Future of Media Commission report recommended it.

Ministers also secured funds to support artists’ studios and spaces, the night time economy and ‘Speak Up’ funds for a growing, safe and fair arts environment. These include soundproofing grants, which also help with planning nightclubs and nightspots.

Ms. Martin has also been agreed to receive additional tourism funding to support domestic marketing for the sector, sustainable tourism, festival improvements, a real estate registry for short-term rentals, hosting the US College Football Classic, and other digital enhancements to visitor attractions.

https://www.independent.ie/business/budget/budget-2023-15-welfare-hikes-and-400-tax-credit-for-renters-at-centre-of-last-minute-budget-talks-42015867.html Budget 2023: €15 welfare increases and €400 tax credit for tenants at the center of last-minute budget talks

Fry Electronics Team

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