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Morgan raises concerns about budget welfare blind spots

11 December, 2007

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson Social and Family Affairs Arthur Morgan today raised concerns about the number of welfare areas ignored in last week's budget, after a meeting of the Social and Family Affairs Committee which he attended.

Morgan said the failure to raise Fuel Allowance, Direct Provision rates and the minimum increases in FIS, meant this year would be one of the toughest for people suffering on low incomes. The Committee was addressed by Combat Poverty and Cori.

Deputy Morgan said:

"Combat poverty and CORI know how hard it is for people on the lowest incomes to survive and how much they rely on payments such as Fuel Allowance and Family Income Supplement to just get by. Increasing the Fuel Allowance by one week is not long enough and not increasing the payment at all shows a complete lack of understanding of the cost of fuel in Ireland today. We wanted to see this payment raised by €10.

"The threshold for FIS was raised by €10 which also falls far short of what any family can earn and expect to survive. An increase of €60 in the income limits would have been welcome, as would simplification of the application procedure and the introduction of a flagging mechanism.

"The failure to increase Direct Provision from €19.19 means asylum seekers will continue to be marginalised and is a dreadful reflection of this Government's attitude to people fleeing some of the worst experiences we can imagine. Ignoring these areas of welfare or offering paltry increases will only contribute to growing poverty in our society." CRÍOCH

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