Blatant lies and an attack on poorest and most disadvantaged - Ó Snodaigh
Describing the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform’s claim in today's estimates statement that there would be no cut in weekly social welfare rates, a "blatant lie", Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD and Sinn Féin spokesperson on social protection said the minister’s own speech exposed that lie.
“The rate for those on Disability Allowance has been slashed, as has the rate for those on Jobseekers’ Benefit.
“This is the most vicious attack I have seen on families dependent on social welfare and families on low pay who rely on child benefit to make ends meet.
Today the minister for Public Expenditure and Reform announced swingeing cuts to a range of social welfare payments and supports for those in job training schemes such as FÁS, VTOS and Youthreach.
“A low blow was struck by the minister when he, along with the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, cut Disability Allowance for young people under 21 by a whopping 47%. The cost of disability is no less at 23 years than it is at 25.”
On Fuel Allowance, Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“The decision to cut the fuel allowance by €120 is scandalous and will cost lives. This cut will hit older people and those with disabilities worst. This follows cuts of up to 25% to fuel allowance and the household benefits package imposed by the government in September. And it comes at a time when fuel prices are increasing sharply.
“We know that up to 2,000 people die here every winter from the cold. These deaths are entirely avoidable if people are helped to buy their fuel. Minister Howlin just tolled the death knell for hundreds more.
Phase one of the Budget announced today targets the most vulnerable while those at the top continue to be protected. Older people, those with disabilities and children all face drastic cuts while cuts to top level pay are negligible.
By cutting Back-to-School Allowance, child benefit, payments for lone parents on CE and reducing the age cap to seven for One Parent Family Allowance, cutting the part-time jobseekers’ payments, increasing the tenants’contribution to rent allowance and by cutting CE supports, the minister is taking food out of the mouths of the poorest in society.
“Minister Burton is sucking €475 million out of local economies, which will lead to more job losses and so, more families depending on social welfare.
“Labour Party members have turned their backs on the most vulnerable, shame on them.”