Budget: Gordhan ups grants

The finance minister also announced personal income tax relief of R9,25 billion.

FILE: Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has increased social grants and is giving individual taxpayers relief. Picture: GCI

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Wednesday announced increases in social grants during his Budget Speech in Parliament, Cape Town.

He also announced personal income tax relief of R9,25 billion, with around 40 percent of that money going towards people earning below R250,000 a year.

#Budget2014 Gordhan has now started his much anticipated budget speech. GN

The old age and disability grants will go up by R80 a month in April.

Foster care grants will rise by R30.

Child support grants will increase to R310 in April and to R320 in October.

#Budget2014 Gordhan: Old age and disability grant rises to R1350/m, foster care to R830, child support to R310 in April, R320 October. SG

But there is a shock awaiting consumers at the fuel pumps, while smokers and drinkers will also be paying more for their vices.

Petrol and diesel will cost more from April.

The fuel levy is rising by 12 cents a litre and the Road Accident Fund levy will increase by eight cents a litre.

A packet of 20 cigarettes will cost 68 cents more, while beer is going up by nine cents a can, wine by 13 cents a bottle and spirits by nearly R5 a bottle.

SLOW GROWTH

Gordhan says South Africa's economy is growing, but more slowly than projected a year ago.

The economy is expected to grow by at least 2,7 percent in 2014.

"A weaker exchange rate is a risk to the inflation outlook, but it supports exporters. Sustained improvements in competitiveness require further investment in infrastructure and a range of micro-economic reforms."

The minister says the budget deficit is expected to be 4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

"The deficit will narrow to 2,8 percent of GDP over the medium term and the net debt will stabilise at about 45 percent of GDP in 2016/17.

REACTION

South Africans have taken to social networks to react on the Budget Speech.

Think about it: #Budget2014 cash has been taken from those who made it efficiently, to give to people ( #Zuma et al.) to spend it wastefully!

Just make sure it goes to farmers, not consultants&bureaucratic gravy train.R7 billion 2 be spent 2 support small holder farmers#Budget2014

When Pravin Gordhan speaks, all I hear is "blah blah blah we're awesome blah blah polish our knobs blah blah blah". #budget2014

#Budget2014 the operation has been successful but the patient has died.Unemployment 35%,we've become the most unequal society, 25m in povert

Click here to follow the Budget Speech.