Agreement has been reached on a Christmas bonus for the majority of those receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

It means that anyone getting the payment for four months, and it does not have to have been continuously, up to December will receive the bonus.

It could see up to 90% of those currently receiving the PUP getting the double payment on 7 December.

It followed lengthy talks between Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath and Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys.

It has also emerged that Budget 2021 will pave the way for the hiring of 600 new gardaí and 500 garda staff next year.

There is also likely to be funding to quickly purchase 70 new vehicles after gardaí were reliant on rented cars during the pandemic.

The three coalition party leaders met today to finalise the details of the Budget.

The package, due to be announced tomorrow, will be dominated by the fallout from the pandemic, with many measures targeted at sectors of the economy hit the hardest.

Much of the Budget's firepower will be directed at businesses and the self-employed whose livelihoods have been wiped out, with a compensation fund expected to be brought in for businesses forced to close.

Several measures will also be directed at taxi drivers and the live music industry.

The hospitality and tourism sectors will benefit from a VAT cut.

On health, extra spending of €4bn has been agreed, with further increases to capital investment and the housing budget.

There will also be a recovery fund of several billion euro.

Carbon tax will go up by €7.50 per tonne and there will be a hike to VRT to incentivise the purchase of fuel efficient cars.


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Additional reporting Sandra Hurley