Budget 2017 fails low-paid workers - Maurice Quinlivan TD
The Sinn Fein spokesperson for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan has said the budget lacks any attempt to sketch out the basic contours of what a fairer Ireland might look like.
Speaking during debate on Budget 2017, Deputy Quinlivan said:
“This government squandered a real opportunity to produce an imaginative and progressive budget. Such a budget could have begun to seriously grapple with the enormous deficit we have in our shambolic public services.
“Instead what we have is a budget that fails to tackle some of the most basic yet fundamental inequalities in our society.
“The bottom line is that when we start to talk about investment in key public services, investment in infrastructure, capital spending, public transport, housing, education, training etc, Fine Gael and its popper-uppers just don’t seem to care.
“This very same political class did of course look after themselves with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny in line for a wage hike of five thousand euro, while Ministers and TD’s are also in line for a pay hike.
“This increase came the same week that the government announced that workers on the minimum wage would get a ten cent increase.
“It’s difficult to find words to describe this disgraceful decision other than to say that it is an insult to workers and a supreme example of the gross hypocrisy at the heart of our political establishment. This government has treated minimum wage workers as if they are invisible, irrelevant and disposable; Budget 2017 has truly failed them.
“With regards to the retention of the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector I must put on the record my disappointment.
“This is sector has some of the lowest paid workers in the country and is characterised by precarious work practices. It is now a hugely profitable sector yet continues to refuse to engage with trade unions to set decent pay and conditions.
“In our alternative budget Sinn Féin would have removed the 9% rate for hotel beds but retained it for other hotel sections such as bars, restaurants and facilities.
“In the interest of fairness and decency the government should have done the same.”