Sinn Féin's Budget Proposals would raise living standards for ordinary families - Martin Kenny
Speaking today in relation to the Sinn Féin Pre Budget Submission, which was launched yesterday, by election candidate for Roscommon and South Leitrim Martin Kenny said:
“Sinn Féin has consistently shown through its fully costed pre budget submissions that there is a fairer way to reach the deficit targets and has done so again this year without placing the burden on low to middle income families and workers.
“Our pre budget submission for 2015 includes a raft of measures that would put money back into the pocket of low to middle income earners and would improve the quality of life for many families.
“Such measures include proposals to abolish the family home tax and to stop the introduction of water charges, which would immediately ease the burden on ordinary families who are to the pin of their collar and simply do not have any means to pay these bills.
“For low income working families, Sinn Féin has proposed a number of measures which would increase the quality of life for those families who are struggling to make ends meet. For example our proposals would take 296,000 of the lowest earners outside of the USC net, raise the One Parent Family Payment Income Disregard and increase the Family Income Supplement by 10%.
“For families with children of school age, Sinn Féin has outlined many measures which would ease the pressure of rising costs such as an increase to funding for the school meal programme, school books grant and an increase in the Annual Back to Clothing and Footwear Allowance of €50. The party has also proposed an increase in the capitation grant to schools to cover essential costs which has increasingly fallen on the shoulders of hard pressed parents in recent years.
“For particularly vulnerable families, Sinn Féin proposes to reduce prescription charges, restore Farm Assist to vulnerable farming families, increase the telephone allowance for those living alone, increase the respite care grant, extend the fuel allowance by three weeks, make the first free preschool year more accessible to children with disabilities and also make funding available for 1,000 additional resource hour positions. These measures will assist families caring for an elderly relative or a child with special needs, who have been the target for particularly ruthless cuts in recent years.
“Sinn Féin further proposes a number of measures which will help ease the housing crisis which has impacted severely on the quality of life of many families. In our budget proposals we would invest in the construction of 6,600 social housing units and also propose that a fair rent system be introduced, which would assist families in meeting their housing needs.
“Sinn Féin fully recognises the huge burden that has been placed on the shoulders of low to middle income families by the bad choices made by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour as they have implemented cut after cut, causing untold devastation to many households across this country. We have shown once again that there is a better way, a fairer way to repair, rebuild and renew our economy and I call on the Government to give something back to low and middle income families on Budget Day.”