A once-off financial package of close to €3 billion could be made available in the Budget to help households struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Talks are continuing across Government to draw up a final list of supports which will be outlined in Budget 2023 in ten days' time.

Senior figures in the Coalition have indicated that the level of financial assistance under consideration is set to approach €3 billion.

This is likely to include three credits for electricity bills which might be paid in October, December and February.

A double payment of the State pension, weekly Social Protection payments and child benefit is expected in either October or November.

The is in addition to the regular double payment of weekly Social Protection payments at Christmas.

A so-called Fuel Allowance "bullet payment" is also expected to be pencilled into the Budget arithmetic.

Although detailed discussions have not taken place yet around public transport fares, the current reductions on ticket prices are expected to continue.

Excise cuts to petrol and diesel are set to be extended too.

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However, the planned ending of the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector at the end of February could proceed, according to those involved in the Budget negotiations.

The exact supports which will be provided to businesses are described as a "work in progress" after a meeting of senior officials examined the issue last Thursday.

It is understood that changes to the tax system to help companies struggling to pay energy bills are now under consideration.

Despite the expanding size of the Budget cost of living package, permanent increases in welfare payments and the State Pension are not set to exceed €10.

This is because the total amount of money set aside for ongoing increases for childcare and social protection is set at just €1.3 billion.

This evening, the Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath said the budget measures would be targeted at those most in need including families with children.

But he said there is an understanding that many people are experiencing financial difficulty and the budget would reflect that.

While Socialist TD Mick Barry called for price controls on rent, energy and food.

Sinn Féin's Education Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire called for electricity prices to be capped at pre-crisis levels until the end of February.