All in all a positive budget for the masses (apart from smokers), although third level education was left pretty-much untouched for Budget 2016.
Here’s a brief summary of what Finance Minister, Michael Noonan implemented today and how it might affect you:
1 - Minimum wage increase - This should help out those of you working part-time shifts and getting paid to the currently lowly sum of €8.65 for your services.
A 50c increase to come into play by January 1 will see workers receive at least €9.15 per hour.
This works out at an extra €10 each week if you’re working 20 hours - which in turn will get you a couple of extra pints on a Thursday night.
2 - Smoking's gonna cost you - Cigarette prices have risen (again) by 50c - so on average it will cost student smokers €10.50 for a pack. So rollies it is.
3 - Contactless payments - This is an interesting one - Now for expenditure of up to €30 all you will have to do is swipe your card (no pin necessary) - at participating venues/shops/pubs.
4 - ATM card charges abolished (Not really) - That €5 per annum that you may not know you pay for the use of your debit card will now work out at 12c per ATM cash withdrawal (42 of them) - but it will be capped at...you guessed it...€5 p/a.
5 - USC cuts - We knew it was coming. For the first €12,012 of your hard-earned cash you will be subject to 1pc USC as opposed to the previous 1.5pc. Good news for those of us working part-time.
6 - Student Assistant Fund kitty - Support for disadvantaged students at third-level was given a €3m boost - but details of this funding won’t be available until the Spring.