Cost of living crisis Budget 2023: pensions and social protection will be in the spotlight

It’s only July, but given the cost of living crisis, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the budget is front and center – and most people will be wondering when they might get a reprieve. financial.

The budget is expected to be held two weeks earlier this year, with September 27 being considered as a potential date.

Among the potential measures to be brought to the fore are state pensions and social welfare.

The government is considering granting an additional week of payment to those receiving their pension and those receiving state benefits.

It would cost the state 350 million euros and help 1.4 million people in what is sure to be an economically difficult autumn, as prices at all levels continue to rise.

The eligibility criteria that normally apply for double payment may also be relaxed, meaning those who have been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for less than 12 months may also qualify.

In the meantime, additional fuel allowance payments may be allocated to eligible households, along with consideration of a further electricity credit of €200 for all households.

Some sections of Fianna Fáil are unhappy with a universal electricity credit, as it would not be means-tested and would also go to wealthy households.

However, Fine Gael are in favor of each receiving a payment, which is believed to be around €400million.

Subsidies for child care may be a goal that could solve a crisis within the system that has resulted in parents being burdened with high costs.

Earlier this month, parents and childcare providers demonstrated outside Leinster House to highlight problems with current funding models.

The Federation of childcare facilities is requesting a subsidy of €100 per child from the ECCE system to cover the costs currently subsidized by the owner of the childcare facility.

The government has already indicated that reducing child care costs is one of its budgetary priorities.

There may also be increases in basic social assistance payments and a reduction in tuition fees.

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said last week he wanted to see the €3,000 student contribution fee reduced from October.

He said there was also a need to increase scholarships.

The Green Party is also mobilizing for an increase in the threshold of the active family allowance, in order to allow parents to earn more while being entitled to the allowance of at least €20 per week. Currently, the payment is calculated on household income and the number of dependents in a household.

There are also expected to be changes to petrol and diesel taxation, and moves on GP care and other health care.

The government is preparing to extend the current fuel tax reductions and reduce the VAT rate on electricity.

Housing remains an urgent need to be addressed and Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has already said he is working on tax incentives to keep small landlords in the market.

There is a continuing shortage of housing and both purchase and rental price levels are high. It is likely that Fine Gael will mobilize for new building schemes.

Fine Gael wishes to maintain the first-time buyer bonus of €30,000. However, it was recently revealed that a third of buyers did not need the grant to reach 10% of their down payment, raising concerns about the scheme which has cost €600million to date.

Fine Gael also wants to expand free medical care and reduce the price of drugs.

Spending available to the government will be detailed in the Summer Economic Statement, which will be released today.

In total, the government is expected to spend a further €4 billion next year, including €2.2 billion on demographic changes and the remaining amount on the public sector wage agreement and a further €800 million in investment expenditure.

This will leave around €1 billion for additional public spending. However, this will increase to pay for welfare increases.

A potential increase of at least €10 in weekly social benefits alone will cost €750 million.

Last week, Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath indicated that the government planned to introduce a new tax bracket in the budget that would prevent workers from being placed on a higher levy.

This proposal could see workers keep more of their wages to help fight the bite of inflation.

The measures are designed to help people through a period of difficult inflation, when costs rose at supermarkets and utility bills repeatedly rose.

Irish inflation was estimated at 9.6% by EU statistics agency Eurostat. The rate was higher than expected and it is also higher than inflation across Europe, which rose by 8.6%.