Today’s cost of living budget will give individuals and families more disposable income and help them meet rising household and energy costs, according to a Fine Gael TD and Senator.
Deputy Richard Bruton said Government has acted decisively today by announcing a package of once-off measures worth a €4.4bn, which people will benefit from in the coming weeks, if not immediately.
Deputy Bruton, Chair of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party, said: “Fine Gael’s priority was to ensure that Budget 2023 helps people with the cost of living in areas like childcare, public transport, the cost of putting a child through school, or saving up for your first home.
“We want to support householders and businesses through the energy crisis and bring down their gas and electricity costs, with a coherent strategy that also helps us meet our climate action targets.
“The Budget will help householders reduce their energy bills with an energy credit worth €600, with the first payment made in November, and January and March Next year.
“There will also be a special €400 fuel allowance payment for our older people before Christmas, and changes to the income threshold mean up to 70,000 additional people will be eligible.
“We will further help with fuel costs by extending excise cuts for petrol (21c) and diesel (16c), until February and with home energy costs by extending 9% VAT rate for gas & electricity, to February.
“Additional funding will be given this year to public and community services to help them meet energy costs. Approximately €100 million will be made available in 2022 to schools, €10 million to further and higher education, €60 million to Local Authorities, and €110 million to a range of Health funded bodies and nursing homes.
“Fine Gael is ensuring that workers do not find themselves in a position where they pay more income tax solely due to inflation – therefore the standard rate cut off point will rise by €3,200 to €40,000, with proportionate increases for married couples and civil partners.
“Personal, employee and earned income credit will increase by €75 to €1,775, which is worth €831 on the average wage when combined with a USC band increase.
“All of this is possible thanks to our strong economy under Fine Gael, and we aim to strike the correct balance in ensuring our citizens are supported, while at the same time protecting Ireland from unexpected future shocks at a time of global volatility, with €2 billion put aside this year and €4 billion next year.
Mary Seery Kearney, Fine Gael’s Seanad Spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Privacy Rights, said: “It was essential that Budget 2023 helped hard-pressed individuals and families at a time when they are really feeling the strain of rising costs.
“The decision to give parents and guardians a double payment of the monthly Child Benefit in November is extremely welcome. There will be a reduction of up to 25% in the weekly fee for those availing of the National Childcare Scheme, which will put up to €175 a month or €2,106 a year, back in the pockets of parents next year.
“We are also helping pensioners, carers, people with disabilities and the vulnerable with an increase in payments. These include a €12 increase in weekly welfare payments, a double payment in October and the Christmas bonus which will be paid in early December.
“There will also be a €12 increase in the pension, and a double payment this October. For families there will be a double child benefit payment, and a new €500 lump sum on the working family payment which gives additional financial support to families with children. This will be paid in November.
“In November, there will be a €500 payment for those who qualify for the carer support grant, in addition to a €500 disability support grant, while the home carer tax credit will also increase by €100. A one off €200 Living Alone Allowance payment will also be made to recipients in November.
“Measures to benefit young include a once-off reduction in the Student Contribution of €1,000 for eligible students in the 2022-2023 education year, and a once-off double monthly payment for those in receipt of the SUSI maintenance grant.
“The income limit to qualify for a 50 per cent reduction in contribution fees under SUSI will be increased from €55,240 to €62,000 and all SUSI maintenance grants will be increased by between 10 and 14 per cent in September 2023.
“There will also be a once-off €1,000 increase to the post graduate fee contribution grant. The 20% public transport fare reduction and the Youth Travel Card discount of 50% on all operators’ services will be extended to the of 2023.
“You can rely on the Fine Gael team to ensure that as well as helping people, we will ensure that our economy stays strong so that we have the resources to continue helping you with the cost of living, with continued investment in vital public services and infrastructure such as housing.”