Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Questions (564)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

564. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will consider a submission (details supplied) regarding the budget; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26880/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I thank the Deputy for forwarding me the pre-budget submission from the EU SHAFE project in Louth.  Each year, my Department receives a large number of pre-budget submissions from a wide range of stakeholders, which I find very useful in helping to decide priorities in advance of the budget.

This submission proposes to increase the Household Benefits Package by €2.50 per week.

The Household Benefits Package comprises the electricity or gas allowance, and the free television licence.  The package is available to everyone aged over 70 and to people aged under 70 in certain circumstances.

The allowance is credited to the recipient's electricity or gas bills where possible, or alternatively made as a cash payment each month.  The allowance is worth €1.15 per day, which equates to €8.05 per week. All customers in receipt of the gas or electricity allowance automatically qualify for a free television licence.

The estimated cost of increasing the Household Benefits Package by €2.50 per week is €60.9 million in 2021.

The Government is in the process of considering measures to be included in Budget 2021.  Any decision to increase the electricity and gas aspect of the Household Benefits Package as proposed in this submission would have to be considered in the context of overall budget discussions.