Leo’s wel­fare Xmas bonus

Long-term needs set for Bud­get pay­ment boost

Irish Sunday Mirror - - NEWS - BY JOHN PA­TRICK KIERANS news@irish­mir­ror.ie

THE Gov­ern­ment is plan­ning on un­wrap­ping a Christ­mas boost for long-term wel­fare claimants.

It’s un­der­stood the bonus will be paid us­ing a sur­plus in the so­cial in­sur­ance fund for this year.

And the White Pa­per on es­ti­mated Re­ceipts and Ex­pen­di­ture for 2018 also shows plans to re­fund Ir­ish Wa­ter charges.

The doc­u­ment forms part of the Bud­get process and shows a pro­jec­tion of rev­enues and spend­ing be­fore any changes are in­tro­duced.

The White Pa­per also shows an in­crease in deficit of around €200mil­lion, un­der­stood to be caused by a rise in PRSI con­tri­bu­tions.

Full de­tails will be an­nounced on Tues­day, when Fi­nance Min­is­ter Paschal Dono­hoe de­liv­ers the break­down.

Bud­get 2018 will also see work­ing par­ents get a wage in­crease of around €2.45 per hour, or al­most €100 a week if they are work­ing 40 hours.

But In­de­pen­dent Al­liance mi­nis- ters are at odds with their Fine Gael col­leagues over the fu­ture of the hated Uni­ver­sal So­cial Charge. A spokes­woman in­di­cated they are sid­ing with Fianna Fail in the row and want to see the tax cut in the Bud­get. Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Paschal Dono­hoe have both pre­vi­ously stated they want to in­crease the €33,800 thresh­old where work­ers en­ter the top 40% tax band ahead of any cuts to the USC. Fine Gael say this pri­ori­ti­sa­tion would help put money back into the pock­ets of the squeezed mid­dle. The Taoiseach has also in­di­cated he plans to raise the price of cig­a­rettes – and would like see a sugar tax in­tro­duced. Speak­ing at the Fine Gael par­lia­men­tary party think-in at the Ho­tel Minella in Clon­mel, Co Tip­per­ary, last month, he said: “Of course there will be rev­enue-raising mea­sures. “It would be typ­i­cal enough for ex­am­ple for there to be an in­crease in cig­a­rettes – that is un­der con­sid­er­a­tion. “Also, I’m a long-time sup­porter of the sugar tax and I’d like to see that in­tro­duced, but I’m not in a po­si­tion to get into de­tail.”

SWEET DREAM Leo Varad­kar

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