There are strong indications this evening that the Government’s once off cost-of-living package will run to well over €2 billion when it is announced on Budget day.
Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath said rising energy prices means the situation had become more serious for households and Government spending would most likely have to go further than initially planned.
It is understood that a double payment of Children’s Allowance, pensions and welfare payments in the last three months of the year is being strongly considered by Government.
Speaking at the Fianna Fáil think-in, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Budget 2023 will focus on safeguarding jobs and protecting people’s incomes.
Mr Martin said Government would aim to get financial assistance to people as soon as possible.
Earlier, he said that the Budget, which will be announced on Tuesday 27 September, will focus on safeguarding jobs and protecting people’s incomes.
The Taoiseach said that unprecedented energy prices are endangering jobs and the Government will have to address this in the Budget.
There would be a focus on families with children who are struggling to deal with rising costs, he said.
He added that there would be an effort to get as much financial assistance to people as possible before the end of the year, while warning colleagues against excessive naval gazing.
People want solutions to things that matter such as housing, the cost-of-living and healthcare, he said.
This is the last time Fianna Fáil will hold such a meeting before the Government rotation in December when Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar will aim to take up the role of Taoiseach.
Asked whether the finance portfolio would also rotate, the Taoiseach answered by saying parity of esteem has been a foundation stone of this Government.
Separately, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has promised that Government will intervene to help businesses cope with rising energy prices.
Mr Varadkar held a pre-Budget consultation with stakeholders today, representing small and medium-sized enterprises.
Speaking afterwards, he said: “During the pandemic, the Government intervened to save countless jobs and businesses. For many businesses, the energy inflation crisis is comparable.”