Budget 2007
The following are the main points of the annual 26-County budget for the year 2007, announced by Minister for Finance Brian Cowen today.
* Cost of 20 cigarettes to rise by 50 cents from midnight, raising Euro 112m * Minister for Health to restrict sales of cigarette pack sizes less than 20 * Contributory pension rises to Euro 209.30 per week, non contributory pension rises to Euro 200 per week * Motor tax to be 'rebalanced' to reward lower emissions vehicles * Top tax rate reduced to 41 per cent * Lower (20 per cent) tax band widened by Euro 2,000 * Income tax entry point raised to Euro 17,600 * Income tax credits increased by Euro 130 for a single person * Length of paid maternity leave is increased by 4 weeks to 26 weeks * Mortgage interest relief for first-time buyers to be doubled to Euro 8,000 for a single person * New standard rate of children's allowance set at Euro 22 per week * Child Benefit will be increased by Euro 10 per month for each of the first and second qualifying children to Euro 160 per month * Mortgage interest relief to apply to buyers in the first seven years of their loan * Widowed person's tax credit increased by 10 per cent to Euro 550 per annum * Farming reliefs renewed and extended * Measures to encourage the transfer of farms to younger farmers * Annual respite grant rises by Euro 300 to Euro 1,500 * 0.5 per cent increase in health levy on earnings over Euro 100,000 * Inflation expected to be 2.6 per cent next year * Extension of business support grants for 7 years to encourage enterprise * Euro 70 million tax credits for investment in research and development * Sports clubs purchasing land for sporting activities to be exempt from stamp duty * Euro 270 million allocated to buy carbon allowances up to 2013 * Euro 10 million for Local Government fund for cleaner water projects * Grant aid for biofuel producers * Excise on kerosene to be abolished

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© 2006 Irish Republican News