Child benefit to be cut by €10
Cuts to child benefit, respite grants for carers and jobless payments will affect hundreds of thousands of families next year.
The monthly child benefit payment - which is made to 600,000 families - will be cut by €10 to €130 a month from January next.
There are also a raft of other cuts to various allowances and schemes which will affect thousands of other families, carers and older people. They include:
* A cut of €325 to the respite care grant, which is made to carers on an annual basis. This will reduce its value from €1,700 to €1,375 per annum.
* The back to school clothing and footwear allowance rates will be cut from €150 to €100 (for children aged four to 11) and €250 to €200 (for children aged 12 to 17, or 18 to 22 in full-time education).
* An annual €300 payment made to recipients of the Back to Education Allowance will be axed. In addition, the weekly payment on the scheme will be equalised with that payable on the qualifying social protection payment.
* The terms of the Household Benefits Package - which provides discounted electricity and gas to older people and carers, will be less generous. There will also be a cut to the telephone allowance element.
While primary social welfare rates remain unchanged in next year’s Budget, there are cuts to the jobseekers’ benefit, which is paid to those who have made PRSI contributions.
The duration of the non-means tested payment worth €188 a week will be reduced from 12 to nine months.
After this point, they will face means-testing, which will lead to a drop in annual income of income of up to €2,000 for some recipients.
The cuts which affect the most vulnerable families, such as child benefit, are likely to prove highly controversial. The Government says it will seek to soften these measures through steps such as increased investment in affordable childcare places and early-childcare supports in disadvantaged areas.