Government announces €505 million package of measures to mitigate the cost of living

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath T.D., and the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe T.D., announced a suite of policy measures designed to support households to help mitigate against the increase in consumer prices in recent months, especially the increase in fuel and other energy prices. The measures are in addition to the measures taken in Budget 2022 to support households, such as the increases in social welfare rates as well as the increases in tax bands.

The new measures include:

  • An increase in the energy credit payment to €200 (inclusive of VAT), estimated to impact just over 2 million households, to be paid in April.
  • A temporary 20% reduction in public transport fares will apply from April until the end of the year to reduce the burden on people returning to the workplace and people using public transport.
    This will impact approximately 800,000 daily users.
  • A lump sum payment of €125 on the fuel allowance will be paid in mid- March to 390,000 recipients.
  • A further reduction in the Drug Payment Scheme threshold to €80 (which was previously reduced to €100 in Budget 2022) that will benefit just over 70,000 recipients.
  • The €10 increase in the weekly income threshold for the Working Family Payment announced in Budget 2022 will apply from 1 April, instead of 1 June.
  • The maximum annual charge for multiple children on school transport fees will be reduced to €500 per family at post primary level and €150 per family at primary level.

Minister Donohoe said: “The rate of inflation that we have seen in the past few months has exceeded our expectations, mainly because of higher energy prices. While we expect the inflation rate to moderate from the second quarter of this year, it is nonetheless appropriate to respond to the increase in prices and today we are doing this. When taken in conjunction with the measures announced already, the Government package amounts to €505 million, a significant change.”

New €90 million fund for Irish start-ups launched

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar T.D., and the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe T.D., launched a new €90 million fund for Irish start-ups at Trinity College Dublin’s Tangent Ideas Workspace for student entrepreneurs.

By investing in several underlying venture funds, the Irish Innovation Seed Fund Programme will provide vital capital to innovative Irish companies at the crucial seed stage and will be an important step in developing and growing the Irish equity ecosystem.

Investment will be targeted and prioritised in areas, such as regional development, climate change and female entrepreneurship. It will focus on sectors that have experienced difficulty in attracting early stage investment including life sciences; healthcare and pharma; fintech; technology and digitalisation; food and agri-tech; sustainability and climate change; and women-led enterprises.

A first call for proposals under the programme was launched on the European Investment Fund website. The fund programme will be led by Enterprise Ireland, with the European Investment Fund acting as fund manager and will be structured as a fund of funds.

Content accurate as at 22.2.2022