Budget 2015 was in general a softer budget to what we are normally used to. After much research I struggled to find any hidden taxes or reductions in entitlements that were not already announced in previous Budgets. In general, I think all parents will see a slight improvement in their family household income because of things such as

  • €5 increase in child benefit

  • 20% tax band increased by €2,000 for a Married Couple where both are working.

  • The higher rate of Income Tax has been reduced from 41% to 40%.

  • The USC bands have been increased and rates have been adjusted

Just before you go off and buy a Ferrari with the extra money you now think you will have in your pocket, remember that the water charges will now be debited from our bank accounts from January 2015.

The latest information on the water charges and disabilities;

Those parents in receipt of the Household Benefit Package or Fuel Allowance will also see €25 credit every quarter (€100 per annum) to help alleviate some of the water bill. This includes people who are not customers of Irish Water and who either have their own water supply or are members of a group scheme.

A tax credit at 20% will be provided on water charges up to a maximum of €500 per annum. This €100 relief will be allowed in arrears so parents will see the benefit in 2016.

The government has agreed that people with a disability that requires additional use of water can request a cap on charges. This means that their water bill cannot exceed what the standard charge for a house with the same amount of occupants would incur, no matter how much water is used. To avail of this cap you must tick Section E in your water pack. Under the cap, a family of two adults can expect to pay €278 a year for a combined drinking and wastewater service.

Irish Water has also produced a Vulnerable Customer Code of Practice to assist people with disabilities in;

  • Reading and understanding their bills

  • A specific phone line for people with hearing difficulties

  • Alternative arrangement when water supply is restricted

  • Ability to nominate a Carer to act on your behalf

  • Priority service register for those medical reliant on their water supply