Galway East TD and Minister for Rural Affairs Seán Canney has welcomed Budget 2020 as a budget for families and carers.
Minister Canney said: “This is a very challenging Budget with Brexit looming large. Our priorities are to help the most vulnerable in society, older people, those with health needs and young people who are struggling to make ends meet.
“The priorities that I set out in my pre-Budget submissions with my fellow ministers have been met. The Programme for Government goals that I negotiated are still being delivered.”

“I am pleased that following my meetings with ministerial colleagues, there will be top ups to the home carers’ and living alone allowances and an additional one million home help hours will be available thanks to an increase of up to €50 million in funding.
“The home carers tax credit will increase by €100, while the Living Alone Allowance will increase by €5. Those in receipt of carer’s benefit will now be able to work or study for 18 and a half hours per week, an increase of three and a half hours.
“The dependent children allowance will increase by €2 from €34 to €36 for children up to 12 and €3 for over 12s, while the threshold for medical cards for the over 70s will increase to bring in an extra 56,000 people.
“Prescription charges will be cut by 50c and the drug payment scheme threshold will fall by €10 to €114 a month, compared with €144 in 2016. The fuel allowance is to increase by €2 a week, which will help offset carbon tax increases.
“There will be free GP care for under 8s and free dental care for under 6s.”

“The increases in the teacher-pupil ratio and the Capitation Grant for primary schools are also welcome. They are issues that I raised directly with the Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD. There will also be more Special Needs Assistants, Special Education Teachers and Special Class Teachers.

“For young people trying to buy their own home, the Help to Buy Scheme has been a lifeline. I called for it to “be extended and I am happy that call has been heard.”

“In my own Department, the Department for Rural and Community Development, I am delighted that there will be a €10 million increase in LEADER funding to support our rural villages and communities. There will also be a €3 million package for the community and voluntary sector and an extra €1 million for libraries.

The beef industry will receive €85 million and the livestock and mushroom industry will receive €6 million in Brexit supports. The contingency fund for Brexit of €1.2 billion will provide additional support for our farmers as required.

I have been calling for further supports for the self-employed. An increase in the Earned Income Credit from €1,350 to €1,500 will take effect from January 1 2020. This is expected to benefit around 230,000 self-employed workers, including farmers.

“On Climate Action, the increased investment of €146 million in grants for upgrading homes across the country will help make homes more comfortable, cheaper to heat and save on carbon emissions as well as creating jobs in all areas.Investment in the National Broadband Plan will mean that no citizen will be left behind. The funding provided will kick start the biggest investment in this country since Rural Electrification.
“As Minister for Digital Development, I very much welcome new supports for digital skills.
“Twenty five thousand additional citizens will be supported by the Digital Skills for Citizens Programme and 1,250 small and medium enterprises will be supported to develop their online presence.
“Overall the vision articulated earlier this year in the Government’s Climate Action Plan is now being brought to fruition, particularly with increased investment in electric vehicles and retrofitting. The Just Transition from brown to green energy is vital if we are to bring all sectors of society with us.”

For more information, contact Minister Canney on 086-2513639
October 8 2019