Budget 2023 must provide a fair increase in social welfare payments
- €20 increase must be provided
Labour social protection spokesperson Seán Sherlock has demanded that government meet the rate of inflation and provide a €20 increase to social welfare payments.
Speaking in advance of Budget 2023, Deputy Sherlock said double payments must made in October and December to give people a chance this winter.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“The usual pre-Budget kite flying continued in earnest over the weekend and many people will have been deeply concerned to hear the Social Protection Minister slam the idea of a €20 increase in social welfare payments. Those on fixed incomes need support this winter, support that matches the reality of the cost of food, the cost of sending children to school, of transport and of heating.
“There can be no excuses from government. Labour is demanding a €20 increase in social welfare payments starting immediately, and a double payment in October and December. Rising prices for food, energy, housing and essential household items are massively squeezing those on fixed incomes. In a country as wealthy as Ireland no family should go hungry.
“Unfortunately we know that government is failing the 164,000 children living in poverty at present. Tomorrow’s budget offers an opportunity to build a welfare system that works for people. The meagre increases of €5 last year simple did not keep pace with inflation nor did it make progress to build in a minimum standard of living in this country. Tomorrow must deliver enough to meet growing costs and abate peoples genuine and real concerns.
“People are worried about how they are going to pay the gas and electricity bills this winter. Already, struggling families are choosing between heating and eating. To protect the most vulnerable in society, Labour would provide a €400 Carbon tax credit, increase social welfare rates by €20 from October and pay a double payment in October and December.
“I know from the people who ask me and my Labour colleagues for help that many continue to face difficulty accessing Community Welfare officers, and the difficulty those who encounter emergency financial difficulties have in securing exceptional needs payments and urgent needs payments through the supplementary welfare allowance scheme. This needs to be urgently addressed.
“Any increase to social welfare payments to date has been substantially below the rise in the cost of living. Government must provide some insulation against inflation in this year’s Budget. Families and households are crying out for help. It’s time for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to answer their calls.”