In a press release today, the Government announced the latest cost-of-living package worth €1.2 billion, of which, €470 million will be allocated to social welfare measures, following approval by Cabinet. We outline below the main measures announced by the Government today.
Extension to the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme
- The Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS) will be extended past its current end date of 28 February to 31 May 2023.
- The ‘energy costs threshold’ will be reduced from 50% to 30% i.e., to qualify for the scheme an eligible business must experience an increase of at least 30% in the average unit price of its electricity and/or gas bills for a claim period when compared with the corresponding period in the previous 12 months. The reduced energy costs threshold will apply retrospectively from 1 September 2022.
- The amount of the Temporary Business Energy Payment (TBEP) that can be claimed by an eligible business has increased from 40% to 50% of a business’s eligible costs, subject to a monthly cap. From 1 March, the monthly cap on the TBEP will increase from €10,000 to €15,000 per trade or profession. The maximum monthly amount that can be claimed where a qualifying business operates across multiple locations will increase from €30,000 to €45,000.
Some of the changes to the TBESS are subject to state aid approval from the European Commission.
Grant aid for businesses using LPG or kerosene
The Government has announced a new grant for businesses using Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) or kerosene, as these energy supplies do not qualify for the TBESS. We will update members on this new grant once further details are made available.
- The 9% VAT rate that currently applies to supplies of gas and electricity will be extended to 31 October 2023.
- The 9% VAT rate for the hospitality and tourism sectors will be extended temporarily for a further six months to 31 August 2023.
The Government announced a phased increase in the excise duty on a litre of petrol, diesel and marked gas oil to restore the rates to their previous levels, as follows:
- Petrol will increase by 6 cent on 1 June, 7 cent on 1 September and 8 cent on 31 October.
- Diesel will increase by 5 cent on 1 June, 5 cent on 1 September, and 6 cent on 31 October.
- Marked gas oil will increase by 1 cent on 1 June, 1 cent on 1 September and 3 cent on 31 October.
Social Welfare Measures
The main social welfare measures announced by the Government today are outlined below:
- A €200 lump sum social welfare payment to be paid to all long-term social welfare recipients in April.
- A €100 lump sum Child Benefit payment per child to be paid in June.
- A one-off increase of €100 in the Back to School Clothing and Footwear allowance in July.
- The State Examination fees for students sitting the Junior and Leaving certificate this year will be waived.
- The Hot School Meals programme will be extended to all DEIS primary schools from September. In addition, preparations are commencing for the Hot School Meals programme to be extended to non-DEIS primary schools.
- Reduced charges will apply to school transport of €50 per pupil at primary level, €75 per pupil at post-primary level, with a cap per family of €125.