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Council budget must seek to assist those on low incomes

26 November, 2012

Sinn Féin Dublin City Councillors will tonight propose key amendments to the draft City Council Budget for 2013, designed to assist low income families and some of the most vulnerable in society.

Calling for support for the Sinn Féin amendments, Councillor Mícheál Mac Donncha said:

“Once again Dublin City Council faces into a financial year with no clear idea of what exact level of government funding will be received in 2013. The unjust Household Charge has been widely boycotted across the city, yet the government is proposing to impose in 2013 a new household charge in the guise of a property tax, with no account taken of ability to pay. We do not yet know how this charge will be calculated or when it will kick in.

“Sinn Féin is proposing amendments to the Draft 2013 City Council Budget designed to provide some relief to those on low income and some of the most vulnerable in society.

“The draft budget proposes to cut the commercial rate by 1% for 2013. This follows a cut in the rate by 1% for each of the last three years. Instead we propose saving that money in 2013 and spending it on maintenance of local authority housing and on projects in local areas. We have seen cuts of over €5 million to housing maintenance since 2009 and this is an area of real need, especially given the cuts of over €18 million in the overall housing budget since 2009.

“We are proposing that the proposed spend of €1.57 million on the unwanted, unnecessary and unbuilt Poolbeg incinerator project be spent instead to increase the budget for homeless services to assist the growing numbers of homeless people in our city.

“Budgets are about making the right choices and we are also proposing that instead of increasing rents for certain categories of tenants as proposed in the draft budget, that commercial water charges be increased by 10% instead of 5%. The difference here is only €1 million but we say that this can be borne far more easily by large commercial enterprises, including giant multinationals, than by families in local authority housing. Similarly we are proposing that instead of spending €676,000 on a government project ‘The Gathering’, this money should also return to the hard-pressed housing budget.

“These are the minimum changes to the draft budget that would be acceptable to us and in the absence of these measures we cannot support it.” ENDS

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