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CSO poverty stats show importance of child benefit – Ó Snodaigh

30 November, 2011 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has urged the government to reconsider its opposition to his party’s private members’ motion on child benefit and social welfare rates in response to the annual poverty statistics which were published this morning by the CSO.

Ó Snodaigh said, "Every measure of poverty and inequality is rising. This was the wholly predictable outcome of the budgetary approach adopted by the Fianna Fáil government.  Between 2007 and 2010 the numbers of people experiencing enforced deprivation has doubled from 11 per cent to 22 per cent.  These are people going without at least two basic essentials such as a warm and waterproof coat or one substantial meal each day.  This is a direct consequence of that government's decision to cut social welfare spending year on year rather than target the assets and high incomes of the wealthy.

“The current government has some basic choices to make.  It can follow the approach taken by the previous government and seek to balance the deficit by cutting spending and imposing flat rate stealth taxes the result of which will be to push even more people into poverty.  Or they can focus their efforts on the incomes and wealth of high earners instead.  Sinn Féin's pre-budget submission presents a range of policy options all of which would reduce the deficit while also reducing poverty and inequality

“The size of the disposable incomes of those at the top relative to incomes at the bottom has increased further between 2009 and 2010.  This further demonstrates the potential for revenue to be raised via taxes targeting high earners and wealth specifically.

“The number of children deprived of very basic essential has risen substantially from 23.5% in 2009 to 30.2% in 2010.  This form of child poverty is the focus of a Sinn Féin private members motion defending child benefit and social welfare rates which is being debated in the Dáil this week.  In light of these latest figures, I would urge government TDs to reconsider their rejection of our motion.” ENDS

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