Sinead Ryan: Budget 2018 snap analysis - so how did the consumer fare?
Personal finance expert Sinead Ryan on the five consumer takeways from Budget 2018.
1) Smokers will be paying 50c a pack more for cigarettes which will serve to either make them give up the habit, or enrich the pockets of the inner city black market sellers of counterfeit fags.
2) Sugar tax of 20/30c will impact on family budgets. While it may help with the obesity crisis, it will also be slapped on so called 'healthy' fruit juices which many parents give to their kids for breakfast or school lunches. If they contain over 5g sugar per 100ml they'll be paying more.
3) Families paying high mortgages won't get any comfort from the continued phasing out of mortgage interest relief. It will be gone completely by 2020, as billed. However, banks have been decreasing interest rates charged which should alleviate the bills somewhat.
4) Families with toddlers will be pleased at the extra allocation to the ECCE year meaning more creches may sign up to the programme, which now offers sessional montessori for a full 2 years.
5) The increase in all social welfare payments see pensioners win again. Their extra €5 is far ahead of inflation, for the third year running proving how powerful this lobby group is. Those on fuel allowances and living alone get an extra €2.50 telephone allowance too.