Thursday, 19 May 2022
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
There has been an increase in social welfare rates. That occurred in January and was done in response to the fact that we had a return to inflation. There had not been increases in social welfare rates in some previous budgets. Since then, there have been other increases in social welfare. For example, we brought forward changes to the working family payment and we also brought in an extended fuel allowance period and an additional fuel allowance payment. We had welfare increases in January and, since then, there have been further welfare increases, acknowledging the fact that people living on welfare are being hit hardest by the increase in energy costs and now in food costs. That was done. It would, at least, be relevant for the Deputy to acknowledge that fact. Welfare increases occurred in January and there have been two sets of further welfare increases since then. Obviously, people on welfare have benefitted from the €200 per household reduction in electricity bills which is just kicking in now, as well as the reduction in excise on petrol and diesel. These things are happening.
As we all acknowledge, a lot of these inflationary pressures are beyond the control of governments, or at least the Irish Government, because they are driven by international factors. There are areas where we can help and do more, such as childcare and the cost of public transport and we are working on proposals in those areas.