Housing, sugar tax and social welfare: Budget '18 at a glance

Paschal Donohoe the finance minister was in budget negotiations with his Fianna Fáil counterparts yesterday

Laois deputy Charlie Flanagan has been giving his thoughts after Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe outlined minor decreases to some USC rates as well as some changes to income tax bands.

Smokers and fans of fizzy drinks are the first cohort of people hit by Budget 2018.

Total expenditure in 2018 will amount to just over €60.9 billion - or €12,700 for every person in the country.

The esthablisment of a "rainy day" fund with €1.5 bn to be transferred from the Ireland Strategic Investment fund.

Extra €500m for direct building programme to see 3,000 additional new build social houses by 2021.

The Housing Assistance Payment Scheme will increase by €149m, enabling an additional 17,000 households to be supported and accommodated next year.

€750m to be made available for commercial investment in housing finance.

The 3% levy for 1st year of vacant site will more than double to 7%. Any landowners who don't develop in 2018 will pay 3% in 2018 but 7% from 2019 on.

There will be an increase of € 685m in Health spending in 2018, bringing the total to €15.3bn for 2018 - a 5% increase.

There will be funding for an extra 1,800 frontline staff.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund is being given and extra €55m - treble that of 2017.

As expected, cigarettes have increased by 50 cent for a pack of 20.

A Sugar Tax has been introduced.

Reduction in prescription charges for all medical card holders under 70 from €2.50 to €2 per item.

1,300 additional teaching post in schools for 2018 - reducing the student teacher ratio to 26:1.

€1.7 billion will be invested in special education with 1,000 new Special Needs Assistants to be brought in before September 2018.

There will be 800 extra gardai and 500 extra civilians for the force.

The tourism and services sector will see no change in their Value-Added Tax rate.

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