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Dublin City Council Estimates will push thousands of families further into poverty – Councillor Dessie Ellis

18 December, 2009

Sinn Fein councillor Dessie Ellis has today said that the proposed Dublin City Council estimates, if passed, “will push thousands of families across the city further into poverty.” The Dublin North East councillor has called on the City Manager and the Labour Party to consider a Sinn Féin alternative in advance of Monday night’s Council budget meeting.

Cllr Ellis said:

“Dublin City Council, like local authorities elsewhere, is struggling with a very challenging financial situation. Significantly reduced revenues and central government cuts have made it impossible for the Council to maintain current spending levels into the future.

“Sinn Féin has been working with other parties and officials on the council in recent weeks to reach agreement on the 2010 estimates. Our aims have been to protect front line services and jobs and to ensure the most efficient use of public money. We have also argued that next year’s budget needs to ensure that families on low incomes and living at risk of poverty are protected.

“Unfortunately the proposals on the table fall short of this. The changes to the bin charge waver will have a devastating impact on families who are just coming to terms with the savage reductions in social welfare imposed by the government’s budget.

“Some 40% of households in the Dublin City Council area are currently covered by the bin charge waiver scheme. These are pensioners, families on social welfare and those earning the minimum wage. It is proposed that these families would pay a €5.60 charge per bin lift in 2010. This could amount to anything between €145 for fortnightly lifts and €291 for weekly lifts. This is equivalent in cash terms to the removal of the Christmas bonus. The Council estimates that this new charge will bring in an additional €6 million next year.

“At the same time the Council is proposing to reduce the business rate by 2% resulting in the loss of €7million in revenue for 2010.

“The Council does not need to do this. The business rate could be maintained at its current level allowing for the bin charge waiver to continue in its present form. This would be the first time for many years that Dublin City Council has not increased the business rate.

“A 2% reduction in the rate will have little impact on businesses across the city. However a €145 to €291 bin charge on 40% of Dublin’s population will push thousands of families further into poverty.

“Sinn Fein is calling on the Labour Party to support our proposal to keep the business rate at its present level and for a public commitment from the City Manager to fully restore the existing waiver system.

“At a time when Dublin’s poorest families are struggling with the impact of Fianna Fáil and the Green Party's budget, Dublin City Council must not further increase their hardship further.” ENDS

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