Tuesday, 26th March 2019
Press statement by Hildegarde Naughton TD
Fine Gael, Galway West and South Mayo
Pensioners, carers and parents of young children are among 1.5 million people throughout Ireland who will benefit from positive changes announced in the last Budget this week and next, according to a government TD.
Fine Gael Deputy for Galway West Hildegarde Naughton said that the increases in social welfare payments and an extension of free healthcare services would provide a boost for some of the most vulnerable in society, helping to ensure a shared recovery.
Some 637,340 pensioners are set to receive a €5 increase to the maximum personal rate of pension, while 684,700 carers, widows, lone parents and other welfare recipients will also see a €5 rise in their payments.
“This Government has restored economic growth and is now in a position to begin sharing the fruits of our recovery with some of the people who need it most,” said Deputy Naughton.
“Accordingly, carers, widows, people with disabilities, jobseekers, and Farm Assist recipients are among those who will see a small rise in payments as we continue to stabilise the economy on a path to sustainable, long-term growth.”
Free primary healthcare will also be extended to an additional 100,000 people by raising the income threshold for GP visit cards, while the prescription charge is being reduced by 50 cent for people aged over 70.
This is part of a move to reduce the cost of healthcare under Sláintecare, the cross-party strategy initiated by the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare, of which Deputy Naughton was a member.
The period for which the weekly fuel allowance is payable is being extended by one week this year until April 12. Some 373,800 households will benefit from the move.
Working lone parents in receipt of the One Parent Family Payment and Jobseekers’ Transitional Payment will now be able to earn an extra €20 per week, up to €150 while keeping their full payment. Around 13,200 families will benefit from the changes.
“We need to learn from the mistakes of the past, when the benefits of a booming economy passed over many of those who were most in need, and too few instead benefitted too much,” said Deputy Naughton.
“The budgetary changes effected this week are part of a strategy to ensure a balanced, shared recovery, whereby the benefits of sustainable economic growth are felt by everyone, and nobody is left behind.”