IRELAND - Pension increases for non-contributory and contributory pensioners in Ireland are to come into effect this week, according to the department of Social and Family Affairs.
A minimum increase of e14 a week will be provided for around 180,000 contributory pensioners on full rates, with proportionate increases for a further 127,000 contributory pensioners on reduced rates.
Those in receipt of non-contributory pensions will see a e16 increase as will widowers and recipients of the blind pension and one-parent family aged over 66.
Over 500,000 people receiving a widow and widowers pension under 66, invalidity pension aged under 65 amongst other benefits will be entitled to a e17 increase in lower rates of payment.
The welfare budget reforms are, in total, designed to benefit 1.5m people in the country or one in four and are expected to cost the state e852m in 2006 alone.
Minister for social and family affairs, Seamus Brennan said, “The significant increases, averaging over 10.5% or almost our times the expected rate of inflation in 2006, will directly benefit more than 970,000 people who claim weekly social welfare payments. Total welfare in 2006 will be e13.4bn - double what was spent as recently as 2000.
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