Budget 2014 is picking pockets from cradle to grave: Ó Snodaigh
Responding to the social welfare cuts, other than those to young people's jobseekers’ allowance, on which he commented earlier, Sinn Féin’s social; protection spokesperson, Aengus Ó Snodaigh said:
“The government is cutting social insurance benefits including maternity, illness, invalidity pension and bereavement benefits with a view to saving €74 million. These are people’s hard earned benefits.
“The government do not have to do this. These cuts are entirely avoidable. The government could instead shore up the Social Insurance Fund with a small increase in contributions from those employers that can afford to pay more. Sinn Féin’s proposal to introduce a new employer’s rate of PRSI of 15.75% on wages in excess of €100,000 would raise €119.1 million.
“By cutting Maternity Benefit and abolishing the Bereavement Grant this government is picking pockets from cradle to grave. The latest cut to maternity benefit comes on the back of reduced maternity benefits from July of this year when it was subjected to tax.
“The Bereavement Grant is a small assistance towards the cost of funerals for workers with a solid contributions record. The cut to invalidity pension means 65 year old disabled pensioners are looking at a cut of €36.80 per week.
“The government continue to insist they have protected core weekly payments but that is simply not true. The government talks about ‘discontinuing rates and introducing new rates’ – how can you say that is not a rate cut?
“Abolishing the telephone allowance will increase isolation amongst older people.
“Mortgage Interest Supplement is being abolished in the absence of effective action to tackle the mortgage arrears crisis.
“The contribution of rent supplement recipients is being hiked with no sign of the long promised housing assistance payment. Once again the Minister makes lazy and mean cuts instead of reforming the system, rent supplement will remain the long acknowledged poverty trap it has come to be.