Leo’s welfare Xmas bonus
Long-term needs set for Budget payment boost
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