A number of budgetary measures have taken effect from today, including the 2% increase in the standard VAT rate.

The VAT hike is one of a number of tax increases and expenditure cuts announced in Budget 2012 aimed at saving the State €3.8 billion.

The new annual household charge of €100, and a 3% increase in DIRT to 30% have also come into effect.

Fares on public transport services operated by Iarnród Éireann, Dublin Bus and the Luas will increase by between 3% and 15%.

Motor tax and toll charges will also go up and the hourly rate for parking at railway stations will increase by €1.

The cost of private health insurance is also set to rise.

Quinn Healthcare has raised its prices by up to 22%, while Aviva policy rates will increase by up to 15% in February.

The monthly threshold under the Drug Payment Scheme increases from €120 to €132, which is estimated to save the Government €12 million.

Third level registration fees will increase by €250, a move aimed at saving €18.5m.