Sinn Féin launch Alternative Budget proposals to build better Social Protection for all – Claire Kerrane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has today published Social Protection proposals to tackle poverty and address the cost of living by building better Social Protection for all.
Teachta Kerrane was speaking as she launched the party’s Alternative Budget proposals for Social Protection.
Speaking at the launch, Teachta Kerrane said:
“We have a social protection system where all current payment rates are set below the poverty line. We need to change this, beginning with Budget 2022. The very least any social protection system should do is protect those who rely on it from poverty. Ours does not.
“Over the course of this year, we have seen workers and families struggle. Many of the issues have been exacerbated by Covid-19, but it is clear that the Social Protection system was broken long before the pandemic.
“Many people are facing serious financial challenges, including increased household debt and, as we come into the Winter period, households will come under even more pressure as energy prices soar.
“We need change. We need to build a better Social Protection system for everyone.
“Sinn Féin in government would deliver that change and as Social Protection Minister I would reform our system to put families first and tackling the cost of living crisis.
“Today I am launching a detailed, fully costed, Alternative Budget showing how our Social Protection system could be reformed to create a much fairer society that works for ordinary workers and families.
“My proposals include a €10 increase across working age social welfare payments. This is a first step to linking all social welfare rates to the Minimum Essential Standard of Living.
“Another key proposal I am outlining today is the right to a state pension at 65; restoring the State Pension (Transition) and increasing State Pension payments by €5 per week. People have worked hard all their lives and should be able to retire at the age of 65, if they choose to do so.
“I am also outlining Sinn Féin’s commitment to recognise Carers by increasing the annual Carer Support Grant to €2,000, increasing income thresholds for Carers Allowance and proposing a Long-term Carers Pension in line with our State Pension measures. This recognises the incredible and vital role which carers have and which is not recognised enough.
“Energy costs are soaring and as we face into the winter, many households are deeply anxious about paying these bills. My Alternative Budget outlines how we can ensure that people keep warm in their homes by extending the Fuel Allowance season by two weeks, allocating €30m to increase Fuel Energy eligibility, and establishing a discretionary utility debt fund.
“The social welfare system is a vital safety net for those who need it. For far too long, it hasn’t been working due to short-sighted government proposals. Sinn Féin’s Budget is a Budget for change, which would put workers and families first.
“Sinn Féin has the ambition and the proposals to deliver this change and make society fairer for all.”