Digital Desk Staff
Tackling energy costs, increasing welfare benefits, and examining tax reliefs are the main measures being examined to reduce cost-of-living pressures on people, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said.
In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr Donohoe said work is under way in identifying further options to help ease the pressures families are currently facing.
He said: “So what can you do? The levers are there. It is what you do with the price of energy and what the State adds to the cost of energy through the PSO and how you can reduce it, as we’re going to do in this quarter.
“And then it is what you do with your tax code and your social welfare code.
There are a number of levers that can make a big difference. But in using those levers, the cost of it is high.”
A major package worth hundreds of millions of euro aimed at relieving cost-of-living pressures of families is being developed by Cabinet.
The Government is examining ways to temporarily waive the costs imposed by the State on the public, including so-called nuisance costs.
Easing the burden
The finalised plan will be announced within two weeks.
The plan will go to a Cabinet sub-committee next Thursday, but while there is a desire to ease the burden, there is also a concern that measures introduced could further increase inflationary pressures.
Following a number of meetings involving the three Government party leaders in recent weeks, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath and Mr Donohoe have been tasked with bringing forward the plan.
Mr McGrath made clear to a private Fianna Fáil meeting that the departments of Transport, Education, Health, and Social Protection have all been asked to identify potential measures which could ease costs on the public.
Among the most likely measures to feature is a possible doubling of the €100 energy credit off all electricity bills, while many health-related charges such as A&E fees, prescription charges, and the drugs payment scheme could be waived for a period.
It has been mooted that a possible waiver on road taxes and toll charges was likely to feature, but this has been rejected as unacceptable by the Green Party.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told the Dáil that the three Coalition leaders met on Monday, and had told line ministers to come back with proposals to help tackle rising costs.