Free preschool for all children from age 3 to primary school and first ever paid paternal leave – English

Budget 2016, Childcare, Education, Funding, Meath, Wesmeath

Meath West Fine Gael TD and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English has said that €85 million in childcare measures announced today in Budget 2016 will reduce costs for hard working parents, as well as improving the quality of the care available to their children.

“The Government has confirmed its commitment to investment in childcare, to ensure that we increase affordability, quality and accessibility for parents and children across Ireland. This is a real and meaningful first step, that will have both social and economic returns far into the future.

“Among the range of measures in Budget 2016, aimed at helping hard working parents are:

  • An extension of the free pre-school year, meaning free pre-school for all children from age 3 to primary school (there will be three windows for parents to enrol their children in the scheme – September, January and April)
    · Over €15m will be used to make pre-school more accessible for children who special needs
  • Two weeks of new paid paternal leave, which will kick in for fathers from next September
    · A €5 increase in child benefit, to €140 per child per month
  • An extension of the Community Childcare Subvention Programme, which offers low income parents, reduced rates.5,000 extra childcare places through private and community providers this year and 8,000 next year
    · A €3 million capital fund will support childcare providers to develop after-school services
    · There will also be a number of measures to improve the quality of childcare provision, including an audit of all childcare, increased inspections and investment in training for childcare workers.

“In addition to these childcare measures families will also benefit from a reduction in class sizes in primary school to 27 pupils to 1 teacher (the lowest level they have ever been), 2260 additional primary and post-primary teachers in 2016 and an extension of free GP care to all children under 12.

USC cut will ensure recovery is felt in Meath West – English

Budget 2016

Damien English, Fine Gael TD and the Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation has said that the significant reduction in the Universal Social Charge (USC) contained in the Budget will make life easier for families and individuals across the constituency of Meath West.

“This significant reduction in the USC will help ensure that every worker in Meath West and throughout Ireland benefits from the economic recovery that is underway. Reducing USC from 7% to 5.5% on people’s earnings between €18,668 and €70,044 will make a significant difference for working families and individuals. This reduces the tax rate on low and middle income earners to below 50% for the first time since 2009.

“With most new jobs now being created outside Dublin, the USC reductions will be felt by working people across the country. Of the 56,000 jobs created in the last year, over 70% have been outside the capital. So, reducing the USC will ensure that the benefits of the recovery are spread throughout Ireland.

“Minister Noonan has increased the entry point for USC payment to €13,000, meaning a further 42,000 workers will no longer have to pay the USC. Over 700,000 of the lowest paid workers will be exempt from the paying the USC from January.

“The USC cuts are sensible, affordable steps that will keep the recovery going and bring its benefits to more households. As a result of this Budget:

  • a one income family with two children earning €35,000 will see their take home increase by €57 per month or €687 a year;
  • a single person, working full time on the minimum wage, earning €17,542, will see an increase of 4.2% (€708) a year;
  • a family with three children with parents working as a Garda and a nurse earning €55,000 and €50,000 respectively will have an additional €196 per month in their pocket (€2,300 per year); and
  • a self-employed worker earning €40,000 will see a gain of €1,002 in his or her annual net income due to this budget, an increase of 3.5%

“Tax cuts are good for our people and our economy. They create jobs, they make work pay and they attract migrants home. And, as with the tax reductions in last year’s Budget, those who will benefit most from the reduction in the USC will be low and middle income workers. The top priority of this budget is to sustain our economic recovery and bring its benefits to every family.

“Today’s USC reduction is the second year in a row that we have reduced the tax burden on low and middle-income earners. If re-elected, we will get rid of the USC altogether over the lifetime of the next government.

“Ireland now has the highest economic and employment growth in the EU, and over 125,000 jobs (net) have been created since this Government launched the Action Plan for Jobs. Our recovery is real and is helping to improve lives, however I am aware that many people are still to feel the benefit. Today’s announcement will help change that situation for the better.”