Social welfare cuts driving people into the hands of money lending vultures – Ó Snodaigh
Speaking in the Dáil this evening on the Consumer Credit (Amendment) Bill 2012 Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh accused the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton of driving people into the hands of money lending vultures.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“Research by the Irish league of credit unions demonstrates that 40% of people have borrowed to pay their household bills in the past 12 months and 10% are using money lenders. In November 2010 members of Sinn Féin conducted research on the impact of social welfare cuts.
“We surveyed 278 social welfare recipients in dole queues and post offices across my constituency of Dublin South Central. Our survey found that more than half of all respondents (57%) confirmed that they were likely to borrow money to see them through Christmas.
“Since that survey we have had two further rounds of social welfare cuts imposed by the current and the previous government so the numbers borrowing to cover current spending is likely to be much higher at this stage.
“This Minister is driving people into the hands of money lending vultures. The underemployed who are currently receiving a partial jobseekers benefit are about to get a letter giving them one week’s notice that their benefit is to be cut.
“A couple with 2 kids will be down from €186 to €149, a cut of €37 per week or almost €150 per month. A cut of this size is the difference between having the money to pay your gas and electricity bills and having to borrow the money to pay these Bills.
“Likewise many workers approaching retirement will receive a pension much smaller than they would’ve expected due to cuts being brought in by this government under the radar this summer. With no notice many pensioners will be receiving a pension that is far short of what they legitimately expected.
“A worker retiring from September onwards who would have expected a state pension of €225 will now get €30 less each week. That’s an annual loss of €1,500. In the case of a couple this loss will be €51 or €2,650 annually. So here is a further category that the Labour Party is pushing into the claws of unscrupulous money lenders.
“These companies know exactly who they are targeting, financially struggling unemployed people. Anyone watching Daytime TV is swamped with adds for money lenders promising quick fixes to all their problems with the extortionate interest rates in tiny print.”