The government seems intent on launching an all out attack on families in next Wednesday’s budget if leaks emerging from the cabinet prove to be correct, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath.

Deputy McGrath stated, “While we can’t be sure whether the leaks are designed to soften people up ahead of Wednesday’s budget or whether they represent actual government decisions, the thrust of what has emerged is deeply disturbing. The government looks set to launch an all out attack on families in Wednesday’s budget.

“We have argued that the introduction of an equitable property tax at this time is not possible. If reports prove accurate, government efforts to address the grave difficulties a property tax will present for low income households, families in mortgage distress, families living with negative equity and those who have paid stamp duty in recent years, are completely inadequate to say the least.

“The cabinet seem completely divorced from the reality facing most ordinary families. There is little surprise in this given that most government ministers have had no concept of living with a mortgage on the family home for quite some time. They simply do not understand what life is like for families who are struggling day by day to be able to pay their mortgage at the end of the month.

“Speculation of a further €10 per month cut in child benefit will be greeted with despair by families all over the country this weekend. Targeting the unemployed with a reduction in jobseeker’s payment after nine months is a kick in the teeth to people who have paid PRSI for years and have suffered the misfortune of losing their job.

“Fianna Fáil has called on the government to ensure that next week’s budget is fair and progressive. On the basis of what has emerged from cabinet meetings so far, the sad reality is the centrepiece of the government’s approach seems to be to attack the living standards of ordinary families.”