The key points from today's budget and how it will affect you

Dara Calleary left and Michael Mc Grath outlined Fianna Fáil’s budget priorities yesterday

Dara Calleary left and Michael Mc Grath outlined Fianna Fáil’s budget priorities yesterdayLEAH FARRELL ROLLINGNEWS

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe's first year charged with balancing the Republic's books is on course to leave average working families better off to the tune of €500 or 600 a year.

-50 cent increase on standard pack of cigarettes.

This will come into effect at midnight, while Mr Donohoe announced a series of other tax increases - including notably a "sugar tax".

A sugar tax from April 2018 will see an extra 30 cent (26p) per litre of tax on drinks with over 8g of sugar per 100ml.

The idea has been floated in recent years by Junior Minister Patrick O'Donovan.

Spending on health has been increased by €685m, bringing total funding to nearly €15.3bn for 2018, reflecting an nearly 5% increase, the minister said.

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A Christmas Bonus payment of 85% will again be paid to all social welfare recipients in 2017. A Benefit in Kind scheme for electric vehicles will be brought in. "The 12.5% tax rate is, and will remain, a core part of our offering".

Entry point to USC remains at €13,000 2.5% rate lowered to 2%.

The 5% rate of Universal Social Charge will drop from 5% of income to 4.75%.

€1.83 billion has been made available for housing, with 3,800 new social houses expected to be built by local authorities and approved housing bodies.

But Donohoe focussed much of his speech on housing as the government scrambles to boost a chronic under-supply across the country, including a significant increase in a planned levy on vacant sites that owners fail to build on.

Funding has also been announced for an extra 1,800 frontline staff. The aim is to bring the ratio of student to teacher down to 26:1.

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There's going to be more investment in An Garda Siochana - 800 new officers will be taken on in 2018, with 500 civilians also recruited.

Whilst the Taoiseach has confirmed some measures that will be in the budget.

This means your USC payment next year will total about €237.

For the self-employed, the earned income credit will increase by €200 (£178), bringing it to €1,150 (£1,128) per year from next year.

The Home Carer Credit is to increase by €100 in 2018 to €1,200 a year.

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