Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1782)

Catherine Murphy


1782. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to enhance the household benefits package in the context of budget 2020; if she will increase the electricity and gas allowance aspects for budget 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34887/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The household benefits package (HHB) comprises the electricity or gas allowance, and the free television licence. My Department will spend approximately €248 million this year on HHB for over 448,000 customers. The package is generally available to people living in the State aged 66 years or over who are in receipt of a social welfare type payment or who satisfy a means test. The package is also available to some people under the age of 66 who are in receipt of certain welfare type payments.

Any decision to enhance the HHB package or to increase the electricity and gas aspect of the package would have budgetary consequences and would have to be considered in the context of overall budget negotiations. The Government has not made any decisions in relation to measures to be introduced in Budget 2020. The Government will finalise its consideration of the Budget in the coming weeks having regard to all of its commitments. The outcome of this process will be announced on Budget Day.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.