Spring cost-of-living package to include 200-euro payment for OAPs and carers

Those who are most vulnerable to an increase in energy and grocery bills, such as lone parents, are expected to benefit.


By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

The Government is expected to sign off on a spring cost-of-living package, which is expected to include a 100-euro lump sum to those in receipt of child benefit payments.

Senior ministers gathered on Monday evening to finalise the measures before formal sign-off by cabinet on Tuesday morning.

It comes before a number of one-off measures introduced alongside Budget 2023 are due to expire at the end of the month.

These include the energy credit scheme for households, with the final 200-euro payment due in March; the reduced 9% VAT rate for hospitality, as well as electricity and gas bills, and the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS).

Reduced excise duty on fuel has also been in place, with a 21-cent reduction per litre of petrol, 16 cents per litre of diesel and 5.4 cents per litre of marked gas oil due to fall away at the end of February.

Fuel tanks in Dublin port (Niall Carson/PA)

It is understood that one-off 200 euro lump sums will be given to pensioners, carers, people with disabilities, widows and lone parents.

A 100 euro lump sum is also expected to be given to Child Benefit recipients, and there will be 100 euro extra added to the school clothing and footwear allowance.

The total cost of social protection measures is over 400 million euro.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said on Monday that the spring measures would be “very targeted”, and that they were aware that “there may be less pressure on heating and electricity” during the summer months.

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys indicated that the measures announced this week would be “considerably less” than the 4.1 billion euro worth of cost-of-living measures unveiled as part of the budgetary package in September.

She indicated that “older people, people with disabilities, carers and working families with children” would be prioritised for targeted supports.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said previously that pensioners and those receiving welfare payments would benefit from the package, while Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said the coalition had seen research that indicates lone parents are particularly vulnerable to hiked up energy bills.

Mr Varadkar and Ms Humphreys, along with Tanaiste Micheal Martin, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, Finance Minister Michael McGrath and Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe met on Monday to discuss what measures will be taken, with an announcement expected after it is brought before Cabinet on Tuesday.

The winter evictions ban, which was introduced in November and will expire at the end of next month, is not on the Cabinet agenda this week.