Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has told a pre-Budget forum at Dublin Castle that she is working to support core social welfare rates.

Ms Burton hosted the forum yesterday where she met 30 charities and support organisations to hear what they want or do not want from her in October's Budget.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Burton said she "supports and agrees with" those who want the principle of core social welfare payments protected.

She said that a motif across the submissions for the forum was a desire to see core social welfare payments maintained.

Ms Burton also defended the Government's record on job creation.

She said that while current levels of unemployment were unacceptably high, they were still moving in the right direction with an increase in the number of people at work for the first time since 2008.

Meanwhile, Social Justice Ireland has said the country's poorest pensioners should get a 5% increase in State payments in the Budget.

The call coincides with reports from Age Action Ireland that some older people are going to bed in the early evening to stay warm because austerity measures have prevented them from heating their homes properly.

Age Action said many older people are at breaking point because of successive governments' cuts to income supports and key services, while costs are rising.

A national consultation in March revealed that some members were  using hot water bottles rather than turning on the heating.

The organisation said the Budget should divert all carbon tax revenue to keeping poorer people warm.

SJI said the Budget should give the poorest 25% of pensioners a 5% increase.

It said the means-tested non-contributory pension should be boosted by €11 to €230 a week, the rate paid to contributory State pensioners.

It also called for a €5 increase in the lowest and most common social welfare payment to bring a single person on Jobseeker's Allowance up to €192.