Today’s ‘cost of living’ announcement: Child and fuel allowances to be increased in €400m package

The government will announce measures today to deal with the impact of the rising cost of living on households.

More than 400 million euros of measures aimed at reducing the rising cost of living will be unveiled today by the government.

Combined with a cost of living of €1 billion in the budget, today’s announcement will bring the total to €1.4-1.5 million, Mr Varadkar told the Dail.

This is up to half of what had been expected so far.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions, Leo Varadkar told the TDs: “It’s considerable.”

In this context, a significant increase in the new electricity credit for households up to €227 is planned to help the public.

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The Coalition’s range of proposals aim to reduce the financial burden imposed on families by the soaring cost of living.

Ministry officials discussed proposals to help households ahead of a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment today, where coalition leaders and Finance and Public Expenditure Ministers Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath, must approve the plans.

Senior government sources have indicated that the only universal measure will be an increase in the planned electricity credit of €113.50, including VAT, which must be applied to all household electricity bills in March.

A senior source said nothing has been decided but doubling the credit to €227 would be the maximum that could be done at a cost to the Treasury of €400m.

Other measures to be discussed by senior government officials today are likely to be more targeted payments aimed at low-income households, including the Working Family Payment (WFP).

Discussions are underway to propose a planned €10 increase in PAM, a tax-free weekly payment to working parents on low wages, which was due to come into effect in June under plans announced in the budget.

A government source said it was possible the €10 increase could be increased further, but stressed there was no agreement on this. A fuel allowance season extension is also on the table.

The current season, in which the €33 per week allowance is paid to eligible households, is due to last until April.

Finance spokesman Pearse Doherty told The Dail today the package would ‘only scratch the surface’.

Mr Doherty has called for €200 in cash to be paid to people whose income does not exceed €30,000 a year, and €100 for those earning between that threshold and €60,000 – in addition to today’s measures .

He also demanded the cancellation of the new carbon tax on fuels which was to come into force on May 1st.

Mr Doherty said the Tánaiste was ‘deaf’ to the suffering described by ordinary people in Morning Ireland interviewed today.

“What people tell me is that this government just doesn’t get it, it doesn’t understand the challenges facing ordinary workers and families,” he told the Dail during questioning. to leaders.

But Mr. Varadkar acknowledged all of this and that the government had to respond.

Last autumn’s budget included a cost-of-living package worth €1 billion, he said.

But Mr Varadkar said whatever the government does will never be enough for the opposition.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the package was substantial. But Sinn Féin complained about it and said it was insufficient.

SF’s press release was ready, he said. “I could write it for you. It was probably written a few days ago.

There were last-minute rows last night, with the Green Party pushing for more targeted measures and Fine Gael insisting the package should have an element that supports all households.

“Fine Gael is pushing for a universal element so that middle-income households are not left out, as well as a targeted element for low-income households,” a party source said. Irish Independent.

A senior Green Party official said Eamon Ryan was pushing for targeted measures to help low-income people.

The Green Party TD Neasa Hourigan issued a statement calling on the government to present a mini budget which would include a €10 per week increase in child benefit.

Ms Hourigan also wanted €20 a week “cost of disability” compensation for anyone dependent on state benefits for income.

She also said the government should “accelerate the move” towards introducing a living wage by raising the minimum wage to €11.

Speaking at a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party last night, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also said the big feature of the upcoming October budget should be to cut the cost of childcare, after the party has heard a presentation on the issues facing families as well as child care providers and workers. .

The party has been told that the government is addressing the symptoms of inflation, but that a broader anti-inflationary strategy is needed.

Meanwhile, the package today cannot be so generous as to jeopardize medium-term inflation control, a Fine Gael TD warned.

Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said there would be additional measures for working families and low-income people “who are under real pressure right now”.

But she added: “We have to find a balance between trying to manage the causes of inflation in the medium term and responding to the symptoms.”

She added that it was “to make sure that they (the relievers) do not contribute to it themselves”.

Ms MacNeill said there would be targeted supports for low-income families and those in a hurry.

There were thousands of families with what seemed like significant incomes, she said, “but after a mortgage or rent, after childcare, after all those bills, their disposable income really became very tight and they need more support”.

Ms MacNeill was asked about her husband, former Irish rugby international Hugo MacNeill, seeking a second state political salary for their family.

Mr MacNeill, an outstanding full-back in his day, has announced he is standing in the Seanad by-election prompted by the election of Ivana Bacik to the Dáil in the Dublin Bay South by-election the year last.

Asked by the Irish Independent if it was ‘a bit greedy’ for a family to seek two political jobs from the public purse, Ms MacNeill said: ‘He is running for the Seanad and I was elected by the people of DunLaoghaire. The electorate decides who enters.

“It’s something he’s always really wanted to do, long before I got involved in politics. He’s an independent candidate, doing his own thing with his electorate – as I will with mine. when the time comes to Dun Laoghaire.