If €25 monthly Water Charges are ‘modest’, then €5 child benefit increase is miniscule – Ó Snodaigh
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD criticised the Social Welfare Bill as utterly neglecting children, lone parents and carers while masquerading as a ‘giveaway’. Deputy Ó Snodaigh highlighted the contrast between the tiny increase in child benefit in this budget with the series of savage cuts and charges Government has imposed.
Speaking at the Dáil today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
“The government attempted to spin this €5 increase in child benefit as some sort of ‘one for every child in the audience’ giveaway for which struggling families are supposed to be bowled over with gratitude. The problem is, unlike this government, the public do not suffer from selective amnesia.
“This current government cut child benefit by between €10 and €47 per child each month. In addition they cut the annual Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance for poor families by €100. They cut maternity benefit by €32 per week and the lone parents’ income disregard was cut from €146.50 to €90. During the intervening years the cost of living has been rising eroding the value of the total child benefit payment further again.
“You have indicated that water charges may be capped for a period in the region of €300 per year. And your cabinet and party colleagues have repeatedly stated that the water charges will be “modest”. Well if €25 per month is deemed by you to be “modest” then the €5 child benefit increase is truly miniscule!
“Budget 2015 should have included targeted relief for family carers but it did not. You said to me in the Chamber a month ago that you prioritised carers in Budget 2015, but you did not. You true priorities were exposed in your failure to announce the restoration of the respite care grant. I urge you to reconsider the matter and to bring an amendment to this Bill at Committee stage.
“My own party’s fully-costed pre-budget submission outlined many choices for the government in terms of much needed and targeted social welfare spending.
“There are many other measures which sadly aren’t in this Bill or Budget which the government could have introduced.”