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Dublin: 19 °C Tuesday 11 August, 2020
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Burton will look to protect core welfare payments

The Social Protection minister said that cuts to her department will be ‘far south’ of €440 million in October’s budget.

File pictures show people queuing at a Social Welfare office
File pictures show people queuing at a Social Welfare office
Image: Photocall Ireland

THE SOCIAL PROTECTION Minister has said that she will try to protect the ‘core welfare payments’, adding that cuts in her department will be much less than the €440 million figure suggested last week.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Joan Burton said that she ‘supports and agrees with’ those who want the payments protected. That, she said meant protecting weekly payments.

“People who are at work will know that they look every month at what they receive in terms of their take home pay. In the same way, somebody who gets a weekly social welfare payment [does the same],” she said.

Burton was talking in advance of a meeting with a pre-budget forum with 30 charities and support agencies where she will hear submissions ahead of October’s budget. However, she said that there have been no Government discussions of the budget just yet.

“I suppose the good news is that as a result of the reforms that we’ve done over the last number of years that in fact there is an element of carry over in terms of savings that that will count in 2014.

The biggest issue is the number of people that we get back to work. As we get people back to work, the cost of the Social Welfare system goes down.

“The actual detailed discussions with my colleagues haven’t actually begun,” she said.

Reports last week suggested that the Social Protection budget, the largest in all of the Government departments, would have be cut by €440 million, but Burton said that the real figure will be ‘far south’ of that and defended her Government’s job creation record.

“When we came in to Government, the unemployment figure was hovering around 14.7 per cent.

The number of people on the Live Register is still unacceptably high, but it is the lowest it has been for some time.

Burton added that ‘core payments’ were something she would try to protect in the October budget.

“What I have done in the past is protected the core payments, the weekly payments that people receive.”

Read: Nearly 1,000 jobs outside of Ireland avertised on government website

Read: Government defends record on tackling youth unemployment

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