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Humphreys says there are people who are not in receipt of social welfare who are also feeling the pinch.
rising costs

Minister indicates targeted and universal cost-of-living measures on the cards as talks intensify

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he plans to make announcement about new and extended cost-of-living measures in mid-February.

SOCIAL PROTECTION MINISTER Heather Humphreys has indicated that new cost-of-living measures could include both targeted and universal payments as talks intensify next week.

Over the coming days, senior ministers will discuss the current cost-of-living measures that are due to cease at the end of February.

The final €200 energy credit for households will be paid in March, while the 9% Vat rate on electricity and gas, the reduction in excise duty on petrol are due to terminate at the end of February. 

The moratorium on a ban on energy disconnections will also lapse at the end of this month. A temporary eviction ban which has been in place since November is due to expire at the end of March.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had already flagged that an announcement would be forthcoming as early as next week, with the topic set to dominate the leaders’ meeting next Monday evening. A follow on sub Cabinet committee meeting is due to take place later in the week. 

When asked about what might be on the cards, Humphreys said she is fully aware of the pressures that people are under in terms of the cost-of-living and energy costs.

“This is something that Government is looking at. I will be sitting down with my colleagues, Minister [Paschal] Donohoe and Minister [Michael] McGrath and we will look and see how we can best target support for people who need it most,” she said. 

However, she said there are a lot of people out there that aren’t on social welfare benefits that also need help.

“We have been able to do that to some extent through the energy credit. We’ll have a discussion and obviously look at where we can help people. That’s what we’re about. We did it before Christmas. We’re going to look at where those most in need, how we can help.

“There are a lot of working people out there that are also you know, that are not on social welfare payments, that are feeling the pinch.

“What we managed to do the last time as a mix of universal and targeted and that’s so we can help people with the cost of living which is across all sections of society,” said the minister. 

She pointed out that many of the social welfare payments announced last year only kicked in only on 1 January and that there is still another electricity credit to be paid out.

“I have expanded the fuel allowance to an extra 80,000 people. Already there’s 20,000 applications that have been processed.

“These are all measures that I have helped as a result of Budget 2023. We look at it in its entirety. I think the targeted measures and the lump sum payments have been very beneficial for people because they need the money now,” she said. 

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