Lenihan announces changes in social welfare

Although most social welfare payments will remain at current levels, some changes have been announced in the emergency Budget.

The jobseekers’ allowance for the under-20s will be halved to €100 per week, and the traditional Christmas bonus will not be paid. Rent supplement will be reduced, and child allowance may be either means-tested or taxed.

The early childcare supplement will be halved from May 1, and will be abolished at the beginning next year, to be replaced by a different scheme.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan also said that welfare fraud investigation will intensify, promising extra staff for the role.

Overseas development aid was also reduced by €100m a year.

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