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Majority of social welfare recipients to go without essentials this Christmas – Sinn Féin

2 December, 2010 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Dublin Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh today released the results of a survey carried out at Dublin dole queues and post offices on the effects of social welfare cuts.

The survey of 278 social welfare recipients, carried out over the past two weeks, reveals that 87% will be forced to go without essentials this Christmas including food, heating fuel and even Christmas presents.

More than half of all respondents confirmed that they may have to borrow money to get through the Christmas period.

Presenting the research findings this morning Deputy Ó Snodaigh explained:

“When I recently questioned Minister Ó Cuiv he admitted that no research was conducted into the impact of the social welfare cuts imposed by the last Budget either on families or on local retail.

“We know from general CSO stats that retail suffered in the wake of the last Budget and job losses resulted. The number of retailers declared insolvent in the first half of the year was up on 2009 by 10% and 10,000 jobs in retail are expected to have been lost over the last six months alone.

“The government has shown that it is completely out of touch with reality so we wanted to illustrate to them the impact of welfare cuts at a family level. With this survey we irrefutably demonstrate that people on social welfare simply cannot take any further cuts.

“Our survey of 278 respondents, conducted in Dublin dole queues and post offices, found that 86% of social welfare recipients will be forced to go without some essentials this Christmas. Of these 67% will go without food, a third will go without home heating fuel and 84% might have to forego Christmas presents.

“More than half of all respondents (57%) confirmed that they may borrow money to see themselves through Christmas.

“By eliminating consumer demand, further welfare cuts will deepen the depression, lengthen the dole queues and widen the Exchequer deficit. The only economy recovering on foot of the government policy of cuts is the black economy. Thanks to the government this Christmas business is booming for money lenders.

“The government keeps insisting that the burden of the banking fall-out must be shared by everyone. I am saying that it simply cannot and should not be shared by those on social welfare and low incomes. The burden should be shouldered by those who own it i.e. the bank bondholders.

“I am calling on people, those lucky enough to be working and those on social welfare to come out and support Sinn Féin’s rally against the budget cuts this Saturday in Dublin.” ENDS

Survey results:

Q1. Will you be forced to go without something essential this Christmas because the Christmas Bonus was abolished.
YES - 238
NO - 40

Q2. If yes, might you have to go without;
Christmas Presents - 200
Home Heating Fuel - 80
Food - 160

Q3. Are you thinking about borrowing money to get you through Christmas?
YES - 158
NO - 120

Note to editor:

The survey was conducted over the past two weeks at Social Welfare Offices and Post Offices in Dublin South Central

Below is a selection of comments from individuals surveyed:

“I don't want to go to moneylenders or borrow from anyone else, but I have no choice.”

“This is going to be a bad Christmas because I'm not getting the bonus.”

“I just hope I don't end up borrowing money.”

“My kids are expecting loads of presents, I can't let them down, I'll do what I have to do.”

“I've always depended on the Christmas Bonus, this is going to be another stressful Christmas.”

“I'm still suffering from last Christmas after the Christmas Bonus was scrapped.”

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