Irish abroad: Was there anything for you in Budget 2016?

Noonan says tax changes will entice Irish emigrants home. Will they? Have your say

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin presenting Budget 2016 at Government Buildings. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin presenting Budget 2016 at Government Buildings. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Irish people living abroad who were looking to today’s budget for reasons to move home may be disappointed by the lack of specific incentives to encourage them to return to live in Ireland, which have been mooted for months by various Government ministers.

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton had been pushing for a lower marginal tax rate of 30 per cent for skilled migrants coming from overseas, in an effort to attract Irish people who had moved abroad during the recession to come back.

Although Minister for Finance Michael Noonan mentioned the need to encourage recent emigrants to return several times in his Budget 2016 speech, no measures were announced specifically targeting the Irish abroad.

However, he said the budget as a whole would address the issues of taxation, wage levels for the low paid, and childcare costs, three key issues which were “discouraging many of our young people who have emigrated from returning home”.

Mr Noonan said reductions in the Universal Social Charge would be equal to an extra week’s wages for every worker in the State.

Other measures which might be of interest to people abroad looking to move back, particularly middle-income families, include the extension of free GP care to the under-12s; the extension of free pre-school childcare to all children over the age of three until they start primary education; an increase in child benefit by €5 per month; the introduction of two weeks’ statutory paternity leave for new fathers; and a new income tax credit of €550 for the self-employed.

He concluded that “as resources become available”, the Government would “progressively abolish the USC to reward work and reduce the marginal rate to no more than 50 per cent for all workers to make Ireland more attractive for mobile foreign investment and skills, including for our returning emigrants”.

Was there anything in Budget 2016 of interest to you? Would changes to the USC, or improved benefits for families, change your mind about living abroad, or encourage you to return to live in Ireland? Have your say in the comments section below.

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