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budget 2023

Help for renters, pension and social welfare increases as 'more room to manoeuvre' in Budget

Taoiseach said renters “will be considered” in October’s budget.

BOTH THE TAOISEACH and Tánaiste have signalled increased spending levels in Budget 2023 that will see pension and social welfare increases, tax-free bonuses for workers, as well as help for renters. 

Speaking to reporters at Government Buildings today, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar was optimistic, stating: 

“The good news is, and this probably won’t be a surprise to anyone, is that we have more room to manoeuvre for the budget this autumn than we would have had in any year in recent years.

“That is driven by the fact that tax receipts are very healthy, there are record levels of employment, the fact that incomes are rising, and trade figures are better than ever. The public finances are in a good state.”

Pension and social welfare

He doubled down on comments he made yesterday, where he said pension and welfare increases will have to bigger than they were in previous years.

He explained today that this is needed as the cost of living is rising faster than previous years.

“Because we have made an agreement as a Government to index tax bands and credits, the tax package will be bigger than it was in previous years for that reason,” he added. 

“Meanwhile, the Taoiseach indicated after Cabinet today that renters could be targeted in the budget in October, stating that renters “will be considered”.

While opposition parties have slammed the Government for ruling out taking further action on the cost-of-living crisis this summer, the Taoiseach said the Government will work to find optimal ways of alleviating pressures on people. 

A senior source has stated that any possibility of earlier actions being taken is off the table.

Martin said he anticipates that pressures will be fairly significant on families and children in the wintertime.

“We’ve already identified a range of areas that are fall under consideration, like childcare, for example, or housing, which involves rent and other areas. And we have to determine what’s the optimal way of doing that without adding to inflationary pressures,” he said.

The Journal previously reported that Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien is working on tax incentives for the so-called “mom and pop” or small landlords in a bid to keep them in the market. 

In turn, it has been suggested that the property owner  would have to charge rents a certain percentage below the relevant market rate to qualify for the scheme.

The coalition leaders along with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath met last night to discuss the Summer Economic Statement.

Summer Economic Statement 

The statement sets out the parameters of the budget in October – essentially setting out how much money the Government has to play with. 

The party leaders will meet again to discuss the statement next week.

Moves are afoot to tackle costs and housing pressures for students also.

When asked about the pressures facing students this summer when trying to find college accommodation, Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said the best way he can support students with the cost of living, including the cost of rent, is looking at how to support students either through the student grant system and or reduction in the student fees.

A “bigger piece of work” will be brought to next Cabinet Committee on Housing on a new model for student accommodation where the State would support colleges and universities in building more accommodation, on campus.

He said there is a lot of planning permissions and a lot of land banks that colleges have that are being underutilised. 

If Government can “unlock that potential” it would increase supply in student accommodation. 

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