Budget 2022: What we know so far from social protection to Christmas bonuses and € 100 vouchers
With the official announcement of the 2022 budget in a few days and the Irish economy rebounding after Covid in the hands of government officials, people are anxiously awaiting what will happen next year.
The budget of 4.7 billion euros is still being decided between the finance ministry and other ministries as they finalize everything by October 12.
But with less than 10 days to go, much of the 2022 budget has already been confirmed – or at least mentioned – by members of the government.
Here is what we expect so far from the 2022 budget:
With huge speculation on a bonus holiday and some cash for diligent frontline workers (including retail workers), many people expect Covid money to be a huge chunk of the 2022 budget.
However, the Taoiseach Micheal Martin has already closed it, confirming that the pandemic bonus for frontline workers will not be announced on Budget Day.
However, Mr Martin said those who have spent the last few months claiming a PUP or other social benefits due to the pandemic should be charged up to € 1,860 “to make up for the service you lost through no fault of your part”.
The highly anticipated Bank Holiday bonus is still being decided.
Details will likely be released on a pandemic bonus after October 12.
While a bonus banker may not be on the cards for Budget Day 2022, a new voucher program similar to the Stay and Spend program from 2020 could be announced.
Government officials have already confirmed that this will boost domestic tourism in the off-season.
Increase in minimum wage
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar told Dáil that an increase in the current minimum wage is needed as the cost of living increases.
Earlier this month, the Central Statistics Office reported that inflation had reached its highest level in 10 years.
Mr. Varadkar mentioned “the increases … so that people can keep up with the rising cost of living”.
The Tánaiste also added that “wage increases in most sectors of the economy” are coming, “including in the civil service, as well as an increase in the minimum wage”.
The national minimum wage is currently € 10.20, but Mr Varadkar has not indicated by how much wages will increase in this year’s budget.
Social assistance and fuel allowance
With a probable increase in the minimum wage, this can translate into an increase in social protection rates.
Regarding the Christmas bonus for social assistance recipients, no change is expected. Last year, those looking for a PUP received the bonus payment.
Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys has said that when it comes to the 2022 budget, she will focus on the vulnerable in hopes of improving the situation for those dependent on social assistance.
This is especially happening as energy costs rise and suppliers increase energy prices for households across the country.
Thousands of households in Ireland were due to start receiving their fuel allowance this week. Around 370,000 households in Ireland will receive € 28 per week to help cover rising costs.
Ms Humphreys said: “I am aware that heating costs are a concern for many and that households have seen their bills rise and return to 2019 levels.
“This will be an important factor for me as Minister as I continue to negotiate the 2022 budget, along with my government colleagues.”
Pensions, income tax and tax breaks for middle income
As the cost of living rises, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has indicated that a change may be underway for retirees and those living on a fixed salary.
He said: “Retirees and people on fixed incomes haven’t seen an increase for two years now.
“If they don’t get a raise their standard of living will actually drop and as a party that believes in a just society we cannot stand that. We are also a party that believes in rewarding work. “
Pensions are expected to increase by around € 5, but there is debate over increasing them to € 15.
Speaking on income tax in Dáil, Mr Varadkar said “these are not tax cuts – as Sinn Fein likes to describe them”.
Mr. Varadkar continued, “It’s tax indexation. It’s just a matter of making sure that if people get that raise, that they get that raise, that they are able to keep it.
In the 2022 budget, there will likely be measures to promote remote working.
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said that “what we would like to do is have a system whereby if someone works from home and incurs costs, especially utility costs, they would be able to to defray that one way or another against the tax he Pay. “