Cruel Budget will worsen recession – Ó Caoláin
“Both cruel and futile” was how Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson and Cavan-Monaghan Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin described Budget 2012. He said the measures would penalise hundreds of thousands of citizens and would not even begin to turn the economy around.
“It will actually deepen recession by cutting people’s spending and cutting jobs,” said the Sinn Féin TD.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said that the new household charge and the cuts to social welfare payments would impose a “massive burden” on struggling families.
“This is a cruel Budget that targets the vulnerable, the low paid and families with children.
“The cut in the Fuel Allowance from 32 weeks to 26 weeks is an attack on older people, more of whom will now experience fuel poverty – in other words colder homes for more months of the year.
“The Child Benefit cut for third and subsequent children is a direct attack on families with children, pushing more of them below the poverty line.
“Children are attacked again with the cut in the back-to-school clothing and footwear allowance and its abolition for two and three year-olds.
“The reduction of €88 per week (down to €100) in Disability Allowance for 18 to 21 year olds, and its abolition for 16 and 17 year olds, is absolutely disgraceful. It represents the abolition of support for people with disabilities in the 16 to 21 year age group.
“The cut in rent supplement is yet another attack on people on low incomes. Cuts to Community Employment schemes and community projects will severely damage the safety net that they provide for communities across the country.
“The €100 Household Charge is a flat tax that takes no account of ability to pay and will be a severe imposition, from January this year, on families and individuals. It will bear most heavily on those least able to pay.
“The VAT increase will also punish those on low incomes, damage small and medium sized business and further depress the economy of the border counties.
“This budget is futile as well as cruel. It is the latest in a succession of austerity budgets that have resulted in an increase in unemployment to 450,000. The measures brought in this week will further depress the economy and worsen the recession. It is a recipe for further unemployment and emigration.
“We in Sinn Féin have proposed an alternative strategy that would protect the vulnerable, stimulate jobs and growth, tax wealth and defend vital public services. We will continue to stand side by side with those penalised by this Budget and to campaign for a fairer, better way forward for Ireland.”