All social welfare increases announced in the budget occur in March, although some will occur in January because I will be able to implement them by order. The exact date will be in the social welfare Bill, which goes to Cabinet on Tuesday and will be published either next Friday or the week after, so people will have plenty of notice as to when the increases will come into effect. I am currently working with my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to profile spending in such a way that allows us make those payments as early in March as is possible, ideally on the same day for everyone.
The work is not yet concluded, however, and as no decisions have yet been made by Government, I cannot give the Deputy a precise answer. I can give a precise answer to the question on the Christmas bonus, however. It will be paid in the week starting on 28 November running to 2 December. Some 1.2 million people will benefit from it, including 600,000 pensioners and 600,000 other welfare recipients, including people with disability, carers, jobseekers, lone parents and parents in receipt of the domiciliary care allowance. Payments will range from €20 to €387 and will result in an injection into the economy, in particular into the retail sector, of €225 million, which is €25 million more than last year.