Budget 2020 will deliver a better deal for families and protect elderly people in Wexford thanks to a range of initiatives to reduce the cost of living and protect our future, according to Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Michael Darcy, speaking today (Tuesday) after Minister Paschal Donohoe’s Budget speech.
“Budget 2020 will really benefit families right across Wexford by reducing the cost of living and protecting our future in the context of Brexit,” said Minister D’Darcy, who added; “One of the main initiatives for families is in the area of childcare. Funding for early learning and childcare will increase by a significant €54m in 2020, to support the continued provision of two years of the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme for all children and ensure the full participation of children with disabilities under the Access and Inclusion Model.
“Crucially this funding will also support the introduction of the National Childcare Scheme, which will open in November. The increased thresholds to €60,000 net (up to €100,000 gross) means that an estimated 7,500 additional children will benefit, and some existing families will benefit from increased subsidies. The package will also give parents two weeks of paid parental leave each.”
Minister D’Arcy continued; “The Government is ensuring that Budget 2020 will benefit the families and elderly people who need it most. The Living Alone Allowance, which helps our most vulnerable elderly people and people with disabilities, is being increased by €5.
“The Fuel Allowance is being increased by €2 per week and there will be increases to programmes that help address the causes of fuel poverty, particularly as we work to decarbonise the economy in order to protect the environment.
“We are going to broaden the eligibility for the Household Benefit Package by changing the under 70 household composition criteria to allow for an adult son/daughter to reside in the household.
“We are conscious that the cost of care has become difficult for many families to cope with. Thanks to Budget 2020, an increase in the Home Carer Tax Credit from €1,500 to €1,600 will take effect from 1 January 2020. This is expected to benefit around 85,000 families in Ireland where one spouse works primarily in the home to care for children or other dependants.
“Budget 2020 also aims to deliver continued improvements in healthcare for families in Wexford. From September 2020, we will expand free GP care to children under 8, as well as providing free dental care for children under 6. There will also be increased funding for overnight in-home day respite care.