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Covid Looms Large In The Midlands Ahead Of Budget 2021

The government's budget will be announced at lunchtime.

People on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will be paid the social welfare Christmas bonus if they've spent at least four months on the income support.

The measure was one of the last agreed last night during final negotiations on Budget 2021, which will be announced at 1pm.

The largest budget in the history of the state will focus on COVID, Brexit, housing and getting people back to work.

One of the last measures agreed was to give some 400,000 social welfare recipients a Christmas bonus at a cost of 350 million euro, as long as they've been on the payment for a total of 4 months this year.

Health is to get an extra 4 billion euro to spend between Covid and other healthcare including extra beds and ICU capacity.

There will be a multi-billion euro fund including targeted supports for businesses that have been forced to shut because of Covid and the live entertainment industry.

At least 500 million euro will be given to the Department of Housing which will tell local authorities to directly build social housing.

There will be money for affordable housing and the help-to-buy scheme is being retained at the higher 30,000 euro rate.

Carbon taxes are going up by 7.50 a tonne which will mean it will cost 1.47 extra to fill a tank of diesel and 1.28 for a tank of petrol. 

A bag of coal will cost 90c more and a bale of briquettes 20c more.

Motor tax and VRT are also set to rise for high polluting vehicles.

The cost of a pack of cigarettes will go up 50c but alcohol is expected to be left alone.

Income tax rates are also not going to change under the first budget of this coalition government.

 

Covid looms large on the minds of people in the midlands ahead of the Budget.

These people in Offaly would like to see supports, especially for small businesses, to keep local communities going:

Publicans are looking for cash injections to keep their businesses afloat in this year's budget. 

John Lee of Joe Lee's bar in Tullamore says it's a tough time for his industry:

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