Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea said it is no surprise that the Tax Strategy Group’s Report on Social Protection published today stated ‘there has been no progress on the national social target for poverty reduction’.
Commenting on the issue Deputy O’Dea stated: “In November 2012 Minister Joan Burton published a revised national social target for poverty reduction, which was to reduce consistent poverty to 4% by 2016 (interim target) and to 2% or less by 2020. What has actually happened has been the reverse. Poverty rates have doubled and the latest statistics from the Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) show that the consistent poverty rate now stands at 8%.
“However, this won’t be a surprise to many people, particularly those on the lowest incomes who have been at the receiving end of Fine Gael and Labour’s harsh and punitive measures. It is a fact that every budget introduced by the current Government was regressive, in that those who had the least to give, gave the most.
“This Government has deliberately created a two-tier society. They cut the Fuel Allowance, the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance and the Household Benefits Package. Furthermore, they changed the eligibility criteria for the One Parent Family Payment and abolished the Telephone Allowance – all payments relied on by those on the lowest incomes.
“The increase in poverty, inequality, deprivation and homelessness is not just a consequence of the economic crisis; it is a result of well thought out decisions made by Fine Gael and Labour. As a consequence their parting legacy is 1 in 9 children in consistent poverty; 1600 in emergency accommodation; 59% of lone parents experiencing deprivation and 13.2% of the population in food poverty. It is not a record to be proud of.”