Budget 2021/22 Highlights

The Finance Minister has unveiled the Budget for 2021/22 and announced a spending package of a €4.7 billion. As full details are published over the coming days we’ll post updates.

The headline items are as follows…

Education and Childcare

  • 350 new primary school teachers and more than 1,000 new SNAs.
  • €16 million for an additional 980 special education teachers in special classes, special schools and mainstream schools.
  • Special and mainstream schools with two or more special classes to get additional administrative principals.
  • Reduction in class sizes.
  • €4 million to extend the hot school meals programme.
  • The national childcare scheme universal subsidy will be extended for children under 15 from September. 
  • A new funding stream for up to 4,700 early years and childcare providers.
  • €200 increase in the Susi maintenance grant for higher education students.


  • Funding of €500 million for Covid measures such as testing/tracing and vaccination.
  • Free GP care is to be extended to children aged six and seven. 
  • The threshold for the drugs payment scheme has been lowered, meaning the maximum someone will pay for approved prescribed drugs will be €100.
  • Access to free contraception for women aged 17-25 from next August. 
  • 19 additional critical care beds will be funded next year. 
  • €105 million for disability services, including supports for school leavers and those inappropriately living in nursing homes. 
  • €37 million for the expansion of mental health services


  • For those aged 19-23 the cost of public transport is to be halved, expected from the middle of 2022.
  • €360 million to be provided for active travel and greenways. 
  • €60 million funding for aviation sector for capital and operational grant schemes and supports for regional public service obligations.
  • €108 million in maritime funding, spending on safety training, equipment and systems for the Irish Coast Guard.


  • The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is to remain in place until the end of February.
  • €5 increase in main weekly welfare payments.
  • €5 increase to the weekly pension payments.
  • €3 increase in weekly Living Alone Allowance (for those on pensions).
  • Changes to the income thresholds for Carer’s Allowance will mean a
    single person earning €350 per week and a couple earning €750 per week
    will still qualify.
  • Parents Benefit is to be increased by two weeks to seven weeks from July 2022.
  • €10 increase to the Back to School Allowance.
  • €5 increase per week to the Fuel Allowance payment.
  • The full Christmas bonus will be paid to welfare recipients.

Tax and Income

  • €50 increase to the personal tax credits, employee tax credits and income tax credits.
  • The ceiling of second USC rate band to is to be increased from €20,687 to €21,295.
  • An increase of €1,500 in the income tax standard rate band for all earners from €35,300 to €36,800.
  • The national minimum wage will increase by 30 cents to €10.50 per hour.
  • The reduced VAT rate of 9% for hospitality businesses will remain in place until the end of summer 2022.
  • For anyone WFH an income tax deduction amounting to 30% of the cost of vouched expenses for electricity, heating and broadband in respect of those costs incurred while working from home.
  • No increase in excise duty on alcohol
  • 50 cent excise relief for independent small producers of cider and other fermented drinks.
  • 50 cent increase on excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes.


  • A zoned land tax is to be introduced to encourage the use of land for building homes.
  • An additional 14,000 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) tenancies will be delivered. 
  • Relief for pre-listing expenses for landlords will be extended for
    another three years to encourage landlords to return empty properties to
    the market as quickly as possible.
  • As previously announced by the government, some 9,000 new build
    social housing units will be delivered next year as well as over 4,000
    affordable homes.


  • The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) is be extended to April 2022.
  • €60 million in funding to extend the commercial rates waiver until the end of the year.


  • 800 additional gardaí and 400 Garda additional civilian staff will be provided. 
  • €6.7 million available for the Youth Justice Strategy to support the development of early interventions. 
  • A funding package will be provided to extend legal aid for victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.
  • €1 million in funding for additional doctors and nurses in the prison system.
  • €850,000 will be provided for the recruitment of psychologists in prisons for early engagement with people convicted of sexual violence.