The government has stated that the basic rates of social welfare payments will not be cut in the December Budget. This does not mean that there will be no cuts in social welfare payments overall .
Social Welfare – or Protection as it is now know – is the Irish Government’s biggest spending department, paying welfare, pension and benefits to 1.4 million people each month and with an annual budget of €21 billion. The bulk of its spending is on welfare. The government is aiming for savings of €700 million – so something will have to be cut.
It is expected that there will be rule changes to the Lone Parents Allowance.
Currently – single parents get the Lone Parent Allowance until their children reach 14. It is likely that the age cut off point could be reduced to as little as 7 years old.
The area of Rent Allowance is also looking like a prime candidate for cuts. These payments are probably helping to keep rental prices high and benefit landlords to the tune of €465m a year .
Welfare fraud is also expected to be targeted – and there may be penalties for people refusing to take jobs.