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Blanket social welfare increase in Budget ruled out

Blanket social welfare increase in Budget ruled out

Discussions are continuing between Government departments throughout the weekend ahead of Tuesday’s Budget.

There is a particular focus on the Department of Social Protection, where an across the board increase in social welfare payments has been ruled out.

Instead any rise in payments is set to be confined to areas that would help children at risk of poverty and vulnerable elderly people.

This could mean increases in the Living Alone Allowance and the Qualified Child payment.

More home help hours for the elderly is another area that is being closely examined.

The extra revenue available for new Social Protection measures is understood to be around €150 million, which is well down on previous years.

There is also a limited amount of money for tax cuts. However, an increase in the tax credit for the self-employed is expected to be announced on Tuesday.

The Taoiseach has said there will be modest, targeted welfare increases in the Budget.

Leo Varadkar said this Budget has to be different because of Brexit, adding that the country cannot afford tax and welfare packages on the scale of the last three years.

Talks between the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, and Fianna Fáil are zoning in on ways of delivering more school places and services for children with special needs.

Ahead of the Independent Alliance’s meeting with Mr Donohoe tomorrow, a source close to Minister Finian McGrath said insufficient progress had been made around funding for the planned cystic fibrosis unit at Beaumont Hospital.

The Minister is seeking to have €350,000 released for work to progress on the design of the unit.

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