Contact the Department of Social Care if you’re struggling with bills, says McGrath

SPENDING AND REFORM MINISTER Michael McGrath has urged people to contact the Department of Social Care if they are struggling to pay their bills.

However, he said it was not possible for the government to ‘offset every increase that people are experiencing at the moment’.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio, he said it was important to be honest with people about what the government can do to tackle the spiraling cost of living.

“We are acutely aware of the impact on people’s standard of living of rising levels of inflation. We have some uncertainty about Brexit. We recognize that the Covid numbers are rising again. And sadly, the war in Ukraine doesn’t seem likely to end anytime soon.

“So we have to take all of those factors into account. [and] ensure that we have sufficient capacity to make a fall intervention that is meaningful and impactful.

McGrath pointed to the decision last year to increase the fuel allocation on budget night, as opposed to January as usual, but he refrained from committing to making a similar decision for the next one. budget.

“It is precisely these questions that will need to be carefully considered in the weeks to come. And the more resources we have available to us in the fall, the greater the range of options and the more flexibility we will have.

The summer economic statement will show how much the government has left to spend since the last budget.

“I know it’s a difficult message, but I think it’s important that we be direct with people…there are a limited amount of resources available.

Paid Talks

As wage negotiations are set to resume between government and public sector worker representatives, McGrath also stressed that “wages alone cannot fully offset the impact of inflation.

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Talks continued until 3am last Thursday, but no deal was reached, with the Irish Trades Union Congress saying it was unhappy with the government’s offer.

McGrath said: “We think it was a very good offer and it was a fair offer. And also that it would have brought additional benefits to the lowest paid workers in the public sector with a higher level of benefits than the figures we have talked about.

He said the government had spoken informally with the unions since the breakdown of negotiations at the Workplace Relations Commission.
“I think a collective agreement is in everyone’s interest. It must ensure industrial peace for us as a government and for our economy.

“But we can’t go all the way, and I have to be clear about that.”

Joel C. Hicks