Increases in fuel and living alone allowances in budget ‘offer hope’ to communities

A number of measures announced as part of Budget 2021 to help mitigate the effects of an “extremely challenging” year on communities in Ireland have been praised.

Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy has responded to today’s (Tuesday, October 13) announcement of the budget, saying that it “offers hope” to communities, particularly the increases in Fuel Allowance, Living Alone Allowance and the Carer’s Support Grant.

He said: “Covid-19 has brought about enormous challenges for everyone. There has been no community in Ireland that has not been impacted by this virus. This budget offers hope to these communities through investment in many important sectors of Irish society.”

In particular, the senator said he is pleased to see increases in the Fuel Allowance by €3.50 per week, €5 in the Living Alone Allowance, and a €150 increase in the Carer’s Support Grant.

There will also be an increase in the Qualified Child Payment, which will be raised by €5 per week for children over 12 and €2 per week for children under 12. Senator Murphy also welcomed the pension age remaining at 66 next year.

The senator continued:

There is a generation for whom home ownership has felt unattainable. Next year we will see the biggest ever investment in housing, totaling €3.3 billion.

“I am delighted to see a suite of affordability measures in housing; this includes €110 million for a national affordable housing scheme. In addition, 9,500 new social homes will be built, the single largest social housing building programme.

“In education, new teaching positions will be created to bring the pupil teacher ratio to 25:1. There is will also be €120 million for reskilling and retraining opportunities.

“For third-level students, the SUSI [Student Universal Support Ireland] grant will increase by €1,500 to €3,500 and adjusting the eligibility income threshold.”

The senator concluded, saying that this budget came “at a time when lives and livelihoods need to be protected”.