Ireland’s 2016 budget draft focuses on tax cuts

Dublin, Oct 14 (IANS) The Irish government has announced a series of tax cuts and spending increases worth $1.7 billion in its 2016 budget proposals.

Every worker or income tax payee will benefit from a change to the Universal Social Charge (USC), Xinhua quoted Finance Minister Michael Noonan as saying while delivering the new year’s budget draft in parliament on Tuesday.

The USC is a new tax on income which began in 2011. It is a tax payable on gross income, including notional pay, after any relief for certain capital allowances, but before pension contributions.

Noonan said he would reduce the three lowest rates of USC from 1.5 percent to one percent, 3.5 percent to three percent and seven percent to 5.5 percent.

He said the government was increasing the entry threshold to USC from just over 12,000 euros to 13,000 euros.

Noonan said there was just one tax increase, a rise in the price of a packet of cigarettes by 50 cents with similar increases on other tobacco products.

Meanwhile, Brendan Howlin, minister for public expenditure and reform, said the new statutory minimum wage will rise from 8.65 euros to 9.15 euros an hour from January 1, 2016.

Howlin also announced an increase of five euros per week in the pension.

The Christmas bonus for people in receipt of social welfare will be increased to 75 percent and the fuel allowance was going to rise by 2.5 euros a week, said Howlin.

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