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Snippet Contents:

Therefore, if €40,000 was in an account that was to be used to pay a deposit on a house and that account paid 3% interest, that would mean deposit interest retention tax, DIRT, of about €1,600 over four years. Under this refund scheme that €1,600 would be refunded by Revenue to the first-time house buyer.
A total of €808 million is allocated for housing programmes, which is a huge investment and the first step towards serious and significant investment over the next number of years in social housing. I welcome this aspect of the budget in particular - it is of great importance given the housing crisis that is so evident and about which I am approached every day. Local authorities are to provide 946 housing units through direct building and acquisition and 440 housing units will be provided through voluntary housing bodies and co-operatives. Up to 150 new homes will be provided in the community for people with disabilities who are leaving institutional care and 400 new housing units will be provided for people with specific needs. Some €40.4 million will be provided for approximately 7,600 housing adaptation grants for older people and people with disabilities.
Some 1,000 vacant housing units will be refurbished and brought back into use in 2015 and an extra €3 million will be provided for regeneration and remedial works in disadvantaged communities. It is expected that 8,000 households will transfer from rent supplements to the new housing assistance payment and up to 2,000 new transfers are expected under the rental accommodation scheme. I welcome the extension of the home renovation incentive to include rental properties as it will result in better accommodation and living standards in the private rented sector.
Much attention has been paid to the soon to be abolished double Irish tax scheme. I am glad to see that this scheme is being changed as I believe it did reputational damage to Ireland. It angered overseas governments because it allowed multinational companies to channel untaxed revenues to Irish subsidiary companies, which then paid the money to another company registered in Ireland that is tax resident elsewhere, usually a tax haven such as Bermuda. In short, it was a tax loophole and it needed to be closed.
The 12.5% corporation tax rate, which is a cornerstone of the Government's foreign direct investment strategy, will not change and I welcome this. I also welcome the social welfare improvements announced in budget 2015, such as the beginning of the restoration of the Christmas bonus paid to long-term social welfare recipients. They will receive a 25% bonus this Christmas. In 2015, some €1.97 billion will be paid out for the child benefit allowance with 613,000 families getting an extra €5 per child per month. The living alone allowance for 177,500 pensioners and people with disabilities will be increased to €9 per week.
I commend the Bill to the House. I see it as the beginning of the way forward for an Ireland in recovery.