Paschal’s €1bn giveaway at a glance
÷Prescription charges for medical card holders under 70 to be cut by €5 a month. ÷Health Budget increases by nearly 4% (more than the 3% guaranteed in programme for government). ÷Freeze on alcohol duty – no price increases. ÷Tax cuts in a combination of raising the lower income tax band by at least €1,000 (from €33,800 to nearly €35,000), and cuts to 5% USC rate. ÷Social Protection Christmas bonus to be paid and water charges refunds to be handed out before the end of the year (funded by additional €300m found in existing resources). ÷Old age pension to go up by at least €5. Increases across social protection payments. ÷Funding for housing construction and acquisition to increase by €400m next year. ÷New Government-backed housing finance agency will be established to lend to builders. ÷Nama will provide staff and expertise for new agency but won’t run it. ÷Increases to commercial building stamp duty and tweaks to corporation tax will help to provide the extra money.