One-time doubling of social benefits proposed as Michael McGrath unveils €1.8 billion package to tackle cost-of-living crisis

Public Expenditure Secretary Michael McGrath has unveiled a potential €1.8 billion living expenses package to his Fianna Fáil counterparts.

The proposals include a one-time doubling of all social benefits, a doubling of child benefit, the 200-euro electricity credit, a 100-euro lump sum for fuel money recipients and a one-off doubling of the working family payment.

“Cost examples” of the cost-of-living package were presented to Fianna Fáil politicians.

This is the first time the government has revealed the true potential costs of the “very significant” one-off interventions that are due to be announced in less than two weeks.

That Irish Independent can show that a one-time doubling of all social benefits would cost the state EUR 350 million; a one-time double payment of child benefit would cost 180 million euros; a €100 lump sum payment for fuel grant recipients would cost €40 million, a one-off double payment of the Working Family Payment would cost €25 million.

The calculations also included 400 million euros for a 200-euro energy loan that can be paid out three times, totaling 1.2 billion euros.

The cost-of-living package could reach a total of 1.8 billion euros.

Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators received a briefing on the party’s budgetary targets from Mr McGrath and Deputy Treasury Secretary Seán Fleming on the second day of the party’s deliberation in Mullingar, County Westmeath.

TDs and senators also heard from Dublin Senator Mary Fitzpatrick, who said the “mass exodus” of landlords from the rental market is causing homelessness and undermining the supply of new housing.

A solidarity contribution is required from the primary producers of fossil fuels

She told colleagues tax measures aimed at keeping landlords in the rental market were needed and said a month’s rent should go back into tenants’ pockets.

Carlow-Kilkenny TD Jennifer Murnane O’Connor and Sen. Pat Casey told colleagues there should be more support for community-led programs.

Meanwhile, proposals for programs to help companies survive during the energy crisis are due to be brought to Cabinet today.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is expected to unveil plans for programs to provide cheap credit and support energy-intensive exporters, manufacturers and SMEs.

Mr Varadkar will also report on a meeting he held with business officials this week where he confirmed proposals are being finalized to help companies struggling with rising energy costs.

It is understood that Mr Varadkar said the energy inflation crisis was Covid-like for many companies and required a sufficient scale response.

The government will use windfall and solidarity taxes to fund cost-of-living support as part of the EU’s package of measures.

Mr McGrath said energy companies are making “unjustified” profits and the state recognizes that a “very significant response” is now required.

He said windfall taxes on energy company profits and solidarity taxes on “primary producers” of fossil fuels would flow back directly to households and businesses.

“We will support our citizens and our businesses directly, and we will take money from the energy companies that are making unjustified profits,” said the Public Expenditure Minister.

Revenue from non-gas power generators will be capped.

“In relation to the primary producers of fossil fuels, they are required to make a solidarity contribution,” Mr McGrath said.

“The commitment we are making is that all the money we receive in relation to this revenue cap and solidarity contribution will be used directly to help households and help businesses meet the great challenge ahead they stand face to face.” One-time doubling of social benefits proposed as Michael McGrath unveils €1.8 billion package to tackle cost-of-living crisis

Fry Electronics Team

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