Burton: My approach is to protect core benefits in Budget

The Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has said it is her intention not to cut core social welfare payments in December's Budget.

Burton: My approach is to protect core benefits in Budget

The Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has said it is her intention not to cut core social welfare payments in December's Budget.

This means payments which people rely on as their core income - such as the State pension or unemployment benefit - should remain untouched.

However, other payments such as child benefit may still be targeted.

The Minister said no final decisions had yet been made.

"My approach would be to protect core payments for people who rely on them as their core their weekly income (but) those discussions haven't taken place yet," she said.

"There are absolutely no decisions in relation to any area of the Budget, as yet."

Earlier, Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O'Dea criticised the Government for the amount of people being refused benefits and for the amount of time applicants were waiting to have their cases assessed.

The party said figures released by The Department of Social Protection showed that by the end of this year, two out of every three welfare applications would have been turned down, with some people waiting up to nine months for their case to be heard.

Willie O'Dea said appeals were generally successful, and he called on the Government to explain why they were turning down so many first-time applicants.

"The amount of first-time refusals has increased enormously over the last 18 months, and no one can say why," he said.

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