Christmas bonuses will be paid to all pensioners, those on disability, unemployment assistance and all other regular welfare recipients. ...
Christmas bonuses will be paid to all pensioners, those on disability, unemployment assistance and all other regular welfare recipients.
Normally you have to be on a benefit for 15 months to qualify for a Christmas bonus, but this has been shortened to just four months in an “exceptional time” a Government source said.
It can be combined over a number of periods in the last year, so if you were let go twice you can add up the two periods.
A source close to Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, said: “The Government wanted to target the support at those workers who have been hardest hit & spent the most time out of employment due to the pandemic.”
In other budget news, the Irish Mirror revealed tonight that 600 new gardai will enter Templemore next year, it will be announced in the Budget tomorrow.
This will bring Garda numbers to a record high of over 15,000 in a major bid to tackle gangland crime throughout the country.
And the force will be further strengthened by another 500 civilian personnel that are also going to be hired.
The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, secured the funding ahead of Tuesday afternoon’s Budget announcements.
Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath, has also agreed to funding for 70 brand new Garda squad cars.
These will be replacements for a fleet of rented cars that gardai had been using.
Meanwhile, pensioners are going to be looked after in the Budget.
Every elderly person who qualifies for the fuel allowance will get an extra €3.50 a week into their pocket with an across the board increase in this payment.
More money – an extra fiver a week – has been found to provide for a hike in the Living Alone allowance that so many older people qualify for.
And every pensioner will enjoy the Christmas bonus as part of the Department of Social Protection’s generous double payment to all welfare recipients in December.
A simple hike in the pension is not being considered this year.
This year’s Budget is going to be one of the largest giveaways in history as the double threat of Covid and Brexit, along with record low borrowing costs on the markets, means the Government is going to splash the cash like never before this afternoon.
In what is being described in political circles as a Late Late Show budget, with a ‘one for everyone in the audience’ strategy being deployed, €5billion will be given away.
Health will need another massive boost in the time of Covid.
The total debt the Government is looking at this year is heading north of €21billion.
And there will be little or no clawback from ordinary taxpayers to pay for all this as the Government has promised absolutely no income tax hikes.
One significant exception here is in relation to carbon tax.
The Greens are in power and it is enshrined in the Programme for Government that carbon taxes will go up every year.
The hit this year will amount to an extra €7.50 a tonne, which in real terms will see the cost of filling a 60 litre car with diesel up by around €1.50.
Another consumer tax hike that can be bet on as pretty much a sure thing is another which on packs of cigarettes.
It will be between an extra 20c and 50c on a pack of 20, it is expected.
Business supports will feature strongly in this year after the pandemic has decimated swathes if industry and thousands of businesses are on life support.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is in charge as Minister for Business here and as Taoiseach in waiting again he will be keen to share the income supports with as many as possible.
The hospitality sector has been particularly badly hammered and a grants system will see weekly or monthly payments for these business people to see them through the latest phase of lockdown and forced pub and restaurant closures.
Sustained campaigning from tourism industry groups will most likely pay off with a special reduced CAT rate of 9% being reintroduced, down from the current 13.5%.
The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and rejigged wage assistance scheme, the TWSS (Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme) are scheduled to continue through to March.
But it is expected that there could be an announcement today that this could be extended even further, to give some certainty to businesses looking to plan for the future.