Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has said the fuel rebate, the aviation package and the increased VAT threshold will create and protect jobs in transport, tourism, aviation and wider businesses.
“Budget 2013 is not the toughest in our history, nor in our recent history, but it is the sixth austerity Budget which has mounted tax increase on tax increase, charge on charge, and spending cut on more spending cuts. Nevertheless, there are welcome measures in this Budget for hauliers, for tourism, the aviation sector, and job creation in the broader economy, in particular the diesel rebate, the aviation package, and the increased VAT threshold,” Minister Varadkar said.
“Hauliers have been seeking a fuel rebate for some time. I have long been sympathetic to their cause. The Government has now announced a rebate on diesel which will come into effect in next July. This will be crucial for hauliers which have felt the impact of the rising global cost of fuel. It will also benefit exporters by helping to control transport costs.
“Excise duty on diesel and petrol remain unchanged by the Budget.
“This week the Government announced plans to restructure the State-owned airports. We have identified that Shannon and other airports have the potential for significant job creation.
“This potential has been acknowledged in the Budget through a package of aviation measures. New incentives will be put in place to facilitate the construction of hangars and other assets at airports, in order to attract aviation business to Ireland.
“The package could benefit Shannon Airport when it becomes independent in the near future, as well as all airports across Ireland whether in public or private ownership, as all airports may avail of it.
“The Government will also consider the feasibility of new funding sources for airlines, and for aircraft financing and leasing companies. More details will be announced in the Finance Bill.
New plastic card driving licences
“The new plastic card driver licence will be introduced from January 19th 2013. From that date all driving licences and learner permits issued will be in the new plastic card format, replacing the current paper licences. This is an EU initiative to introduce a secure, compact style of licence in all Member States. Anyone who applies for a licence or learner permit after 12th January will receive the new version. I also intend to transfer responsibility for the driver licence service to the Road Safety Authority in January.
“The cost of a ten year licence will be €55 from January 1st. A three-year licence fee will be €35 and a one-year licence will be €25. Under the terms of the EU Directive, the three-year licences will only be available to those over 60. This new price for a full licence compares favourably to the €85 cost for a full licence in Spain, €62 in Great Britain and more than €100 in Australia. It is also better value than a ten-year Irish passport, which costs €80. The new fees represent the first licence fee increase since 2001.
“Next year is hugely important for Irish tourism, when we host the Gathering Ireland 2013. I have allocated €7 million from my own Budget to the Gathering, in addition to the €5 million allocated in 2012. Government supports for the SME sector will be of huge benefit to tourism businesses, particularly the new higher VAT threshold of €1.25 million, and confirmation that the lower 9% VAT rate for tourism services will remain in place for all of 2013. I have also limited cuts to the Tourism Services allocation to 2% to maintain tourism product development and marketing for the Gathering.
“Also, the tourism industry will welcome the fact that no changes have been made to sick pay arrangements.
“The boxers, paralympians, individual athletes, our national teams and local and county sportspeople lifted the nation’s spirits throughout the year. We are immensely grateful for that as a nation. Moreover, rising levels of participation in sport suggest that our policies are working and investment in sport is producing a real return. In recognition of this, I am reducing the planned cut in funding to the Sports Council from 5% to 2.9% for 2013.”
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport: 01 6041090 / 01 6041087