€100 top-up to cut water bill for OAPs, carers and low paid
A REPRIEVE is to be offered to low income families, old age pensioners and carers who will receive €100 annually in social welfare payments to help pay water charges.
Water charges are due to come into effect in October with the first bills dropping in January.
The average household is expected to pay €240 a year in water charges.
Tanaiste Joan Burton said the €100 subsidy for vulnerable people was approved by the Government after she brought a memo to Cabinet yesterday morning.
"I brought a memo myself for a payment of €100 for those on the household benefits package, which will cover over 415,000 households.
"People over 70, people who act as carers, people who are on disability," she said.
Four quarterly payments of €25 will be made to such families and in conjunction with the free allowance for children should "mitigate" the costs of having to pay for water, Ms Burton said.
"This will help people meet the costs of water and will extend to all families in receipt of the household benefit package.
"Together with the free allowance that people will get it will go a long way to mitigate the cost of water to such houses," she said at an event at Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown in Dublin.
The additional social welfare payment will cost €44m a year and payments will start for the first quarter next January.
The charging of water was a major flashpoint between the coalition parties ahead of the local and European elections in May.
Against the wishes of Irish Water, the Government scrapped a proposed €50 standing charge.