SVP says temporary supports welcome but not sufficient for households in crisis

The government has announced a €400 million support package today for social protection measures.

  • The measures include a lump sum child benefit payment of €100 per child to be paid in June, and a €200 lump sum to be paid in April to all long-term social welfare recipients.
  • In July there will be a one-off increase of €100 in the Back to School Clothing and Footwear allowance, and the State Examination fees for students sitting the Junior and Leaving certificate this year will be waived.
  • The Hot School Meals programme will be extended to all DEIS primary schools from September, benefiting 64,500 children.
  • Start preparations for the Hot School Meals programme to be extended to non-DEIS primary schools.
  • Reduced charges will apply to school transport of €50 per pupil at primary level, €75 per pupil at post-primary level, with a cap per family of €125.
  • The temporary reductions in VAT on gas and electricity, from 13.5% to 9%, will be extended to 31 October 2023 at an estimated cost of €115 million.
  • The temporary reduction in VAT on Tourism and Hospitality, from 13.5% to 9%, will be extended to 31 August 2023 at an estimated cost of €300 million.
  • A phased restoration of the rates of excise on petrol, diesel and marked gas oil will take place in three stages over the coming eight months. This will see rates restored on 1 June by 6 cent per litre of petrol, 5 cent per litre of diesel and 1 cent per litre of marked gas oil. On 1 September these rates will increase by a further 7 cent for petrol, 5 cent diesel, 1 cent for marked gas.
  • Rates will then be fully restored on 31 October with a final increase of 8 cent for petrol, 6 cent for diesel, and 3 cent for market gas oil. The extension, and phased reintroduction, of these excise reductions is estimated to cost €383 million.

The measures are welcome, but increasing core social welfare rates would have been more effective in ensuring those on the lowest incomes are not pulled further into poverty, says the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SVP).

SVP says that the specific measures announced today such as the €100 extra for the Back-to-School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is a welcome measure that will help struggling families on low income.


The Society also welcomes the expansion of the school meals programme to deal with the growing problem of food poverty.

However, SVP is disappointed that permanent measures which they have called for and are badly needed have not been included in today’s announcement. For example;

* increasing core social welfare rates by €8 to prevent a further rise in poverty.

* increasing the Qualified Child Increase (QCI) for those under 12 by €5 per week and for those over 12 by €10 per week to match the rising cost of raising children and to prevent an increase in child poverty.

*  the extension of the Fuel Allowance  to families in receipt of the Working Family Payment

SVP had also called for a targeted credit to gas pre-pay meter customers in recognition of the additional vulnerability of this group at heightened risk of disconnection. But that was unfortunately not part of the announcement today.

Dr Tricia Keilthy, SVP Head of Social Justice and Policy said; “There is no doubt the extra payments will bring temporary relief to many households, but we have been clear that Government can no longer rely on short term responses to what are longer term problems.”


She added; “The 20% increase in calls for help which we experienced last year, and which have increased again since the beginning of this year shows the extent of long-term issues that needs to be addressed”.

As we have said repeatedly over the longer term the basic rate of social welfare should match a Minimum Essential Standard of Living. This would be a floor, under which no one would be expected to live and where everyone could afford the essentials to live and participate in Irish society.”

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