The 2016 Budget is about responsible commitments that will share the benefits of the economic recovery.
In arriving at decisions about how best to allocate public resources for 2016, the Government was concerned that this Budget should focus on:
- Supporting Children and their Development
- Supporting People
- Decent Jobs and Fair Wages
In deciding how to best use the public’s money, this Government has been careful to ensure that the public finances remain on a sustainable footing.
This will ensure that, in the future, people will not have to bear budget cuts because of poor budgetary policies.
There will be a total Expenditure package of €770m in 2016
- New Expenditure measures of €470m
- Lansdowne Road Pay Agreement of €300m
Stable and Sustainable Public Finances
When this Government came into office, the Irish public finances were in crisis.
The resilience of the Irish people and their determination to overcome the worst economic crisis in almost a century means that Ireland now has stable public finances.
The rules in place to ensure that these remain on a sustainable path into the future.
- The economy is forecast to grow by 6.2% GDP this year and by 4.3% GDP in 2016;
- This is the second Budget to announce an increase in Exchequer spending. The overall allocation for 2016 is some €55.3bn – an increase of €0.4bn on 2015 (+0.7%).
- Gross Voted Current expenditure will increase by €437m from €51bn to €51.5bn. (+0.9%)
- Gross Voted Capital expenditure will stay broadly the same at €3.8bn
There are many needs and pressures in our society. But we also must ensure that the public finances are sustainable – that is, the money allocated does not exceed the money that can be raised and that taxpayers’ money is used efficiently to provide effective services to citizens.
The decisions to increase expenditure have been made within an overall, sensible framework. This Government is committed to ensuring that the public finances remain on a sustainable path. In partnership with other Eurozone countries, Ireland is committed to:
- The underlying General Government deficit for 2015 is expected to be 2.1% of GDP well ahead of the target set by the European Council of less than 3%
- Ireland’s debt-to-GDP ratio is forecast to be 92.8% in 2016 having peaked at 120.2% in 2012
Supporting Children and their Development
- Child Benefit – increase of €5 per month to €140 – benefitting 1.2 million children and 610,000 families
- Children’s Health – extension of the free GP care to children under 12 years
- Childcare – an additional €85 million is to be provided, this will allow for the:
- Extension of the free Pre-School Year (Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme) –
- now allow children to avail of the free pre-school provision from age three until they make the transition to primary school; thereby increasing the current provision of 38 weeks by up to a further 50 weeks
- An extension of the Community Childcare Subvention Programme by up to 8,000 places
- Develop after school services using existing school facilities in conjunction with both community and private childcare providers
- A suite of supports, which will ensure children with a disability can meaningfully participate in, and fully reap the benefits of, pre-school education;
- School Meals Programme – increase funding by €3m, benefitting 217,000 children
- Education – an additional 2,260 teaching posts, this will support decisions to:
- Primary School – reduce the staffing schedule to 27:1 (from 28:1)
- Secondary School – reduce the staffing schedule to 18.7:1 (from 19:1)
- 600 additional resource teachers for children with special education needs
- Education Infrastructure – create an additional 20,000 school places through the delivery of large scale projects and the Additional Accommodation Scheme
- Older People – an increase of €3 per week in the pensions rates – benefiting 677,000 people
- Fuel Allowance – an increase of €2.50 per week – benefiting 381,000 people
- Protect people and communities – recruit up to 600 new trainee Gardaí and programme of investment in Garda ICT and other operational infrastructure, including the fleet and police buildings
- Housing – allocation in 2016 will ensure 17,600 households will have their housing needs addressed in 2016
- this is in addition to the 15,900 who will have had their housing needs addressed over the course of 2015
- Investment in Housing – Over 9,500 social housing units by 2018 from an investment of €1.95bn funded through direct investment and Public Private Partnership
- Over 3,100 of these social housing units will be provided in 2016
- Homelessness – Provide €70m to assist homeless households to transition to long term sustainable housing solutions and
- further additional funding has been also allocated to provide 500 modular units for homeless families in 2016
- Ireland 2016 – Ensure that 2016 will be remembered as a very special year in our shared history – honour the courage, idealism and dignity of those who sacrificed their lives and well-being so that the dream of freedom could become a reality
- Reaching out as part of a global community
- Ireland is preparing to welcome 4,000 people as part of the international effort to address the current migration crisis
- The Naval Service is continuing its Search & Rescue Deployment in the Mediterranean
Irish Aid is helping to address humanitarian crises and provide humanitarian assistance to populations caught up in complex and protracted emergencies.
Decent Jobs and Fair Wages
- From 1 January 2016, the statutory minimum wage will increase to €9.15 per hour
- A new Paternity Benefit Scheme will be introduced from September 2016
- Employment Supports – €2.50 per week increase in top-up payments for Community Employment, Rural Social Scheme Tus, Gateway and JobBridge – benefit 43,000 people
- Developing the Regions – Ensure that the benefits of the economic recovery, in particular employment, reach all parts of the country
- Regional Action Plans for Jobs, IDA regional property and advance facilities programme and competitive Enterprise Ireland and Local Enterprise Offices regional funding calls
- Seafood Development Programme to ensure the sustainable development of the seafood sector including improved fishing practices
- Rollout of the National Broadband Plan – providing high speed broadband connectivity to the parts of rural Ireland where commercial investment is not forthcoming
- Market Ireland as a tourism destination and support tourism initiatives such as the Wild Atlantic Way
- Supporting Employment –increase to 400,000 the number of jobs supported by the Enterprise Agencies (Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland) and the Local Enterprise Offices