Varadkar: Government has acknowledged the work of Carers in Budget 2023

Photo © Tipp FM

The Tánaiste has told Tipp FM respite services must be improved across the country.

Leo Varadkar was reacting to calls for an end to the means testing for those on the carers allowance.

He told Tipp Today that it is a social welfare payment and therefore, designed differently to an employment benefit but he feels this year’s budget will put extra money into the pockets of carers.

The Tánaiste feels this in conjunction with changes within other departments will show greater acknowledgment of the role carers play.

“One of the things we can do for carers that is important is improve respite services so they do get a break because it’s important that carers get a break. The announcement made by Minister Humphreys which is that changes to the pension system so that more carers can qualify for the full state pension without a means test when they retire and will better recognise the contribution that they made throughout their working lives working as carers.”

He went on to say he disagrees with any suggestion the Government hasn’t done enough when it comes to social welfare payments.

A €12 a week increase was announced for those on the payment during yesterday’s budget.

It had been reported that the Tánaiste had disagreed with Minister Heather Humphreys on this and wanted a €15 a week rise, however, he told Tipp today that there is always compromise needed within the budget.

When asked why there wasn’t the €20 increase that was estimated to be needed given the rising cost of living, he argued that the measures needed to be viewed collectively.

“More people are going to qualify for fuel allowance… if you have children to look after and you are on social welfare there will be an additional increase there as well. Of course there is the double payment that will fall in only a couple of weeks’ time… so when you take it in the round it is €20 a week.”