independent

Friday 25 April 2014

Raft of new charges to cost households €1,000 this year

Finance Minister Michael Noonan (right) with the Minister for Public Expenduiture & Reform Brendan Howlin

A RAFT of new levies and charges enforced from this week are set to cost households up to €1,000 each over the full year.

Consumers are being hit with higher rail and bus fares, increased taxes on savings, rises in car insurance for women and a hike in motor tax.

Other areas where prices are set to rise include health insurance and the cost of a driver's licence, while later this year the new property tax kicks in. Most of the rises are due to government decisions following the Budget last month.

The impact of the higher charges will be felt from January 1, in what experts said would mean another massive strain on family finances.

Hard-pressed motorists, already reeling from high petrol and diesel prices, have been hit with a 400pc rise in the cost of renewing a one-year driving licence.

Premiums

The cost has shot up from €5 to €25 from Tuesday. Renewing a 10-year licence now costs €55, up from €25. This is a 120pc rise. New plastic, credit-card sized licences are being introduced.

Motorists also face higher motor tax from this month, and those with cars whose road tax is calculated on engine size face increases of up to €126 a year.

Cars that are taxed on emissions, which is mainly those registered since 2008, will also be hit, with increases of up to €40 a year.

Female drivers will face higher premiums after new EU rules came in last month banning premiums being calculated on the basis of gender. This has meant that women drivers under the age of 30 are seeing premium jumps of up to €300.

And savers will also be hit.

From the start of this month anyone with savings will now have any interest they earn taxed at 33pc, up from 30pc. And next year all those, apart from pensioners, will have pay-related social insurance ( PRSI) deducted also from interest earned.

Families are bracing themselves for higher health insurance premiums after a series of price increases last year. Some 400,000 people renew their policies at this time of year and they will be hit by a series of rises imposed last year that average around 20pc. Bus and rail fares went up by up to 18pc from last month.

The scrapping of the PRSI-free allowance for workers earning more than €18,000 will be visible on the payslips of workers at the end of the week. It will cost workers an average of €5 per week.

The €10 cut to child benefit also came into force yesterday.

Irish Independent

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