Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Louth Emma Coffey has said her party is committed to new measures which will reform and enhance the social welfare system, while supporting families and older people in communities across Louth.
Ms Coffey made the comments following the publication of Fianna Fáil’s ‘Priorities for Social Protection’ policy document this week.
“Fairness is at the heart of our social protection proposals. Fine Gael and Labour have significantly cut back on social protection supports since coming to office. They abolished the bereavement grant, axed the telephone allowance and targeted the children’s allowance for significant cutbacks. These are just a few of the regressive policies they have pursued in office. Fianna Fáil wants to undo the damage caused by this Government,” said Ms Coffey.
“We will reform the social welfare system and increase certain supports. Our first year priorities, which would involve an additional €107 million in spending, would include an upward revision of Rent Supplement caps of between 5%-15% in areas of greatest pressure at a cost of €22 million, increasing lone parents’ supports by €33m, reforming Family Income Supplement (FIS) and ensuring the Free Travel Scheme is adequately funded.
“We are committed to building a more equal society, grounded in fairness and decency. Our proposals will assist families who are struggling in the face of rising accommodation costs, higher energy bills and spiralling childcare fees. The Government is talking up the economic recovery but people in Louth are still under intense financial pressure. There needs to be a social dividend with the economic recovery, but this is not happening under the current Government.
“Our longer term goals include reinstating the Fuel Allowance season to 32 weeks in recognition of the number of people suffering from fuel poverty. We would also extend Family Income Supplement to the self-employed and expand the Living Alone Allowance to €20 a week in recognition of the additional costs faced by those who live alone.
“The proposals we have put forward to reform the social welfare and pensions system is reasonable, and will begin to undo the untold damage caused by Fine Gael and Labour in Government,” said Ms Coffey.