Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Barry Cowen has said that the full extent of the Labour Party’s pre-election cynicism is now exposed by the news that Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton is preparing significant cuts to child benefit.
Deputy Cowen commented, “Another day sees another broken promise from this Government. But the audacity of this latest u-turn sets a new standard. During the general election campaign Labour repeatedly described Child Benefit as a “red-line issue” for the party, with their “Every Little Hurts” campaign forming the basis of the party’s campaign in the last week before polling.” (see attached half page advertisement placed in all national newspapers).
“They promised the public that a vote for Labour is a vote to protect Child Benefit. Now it appears that this is joining an ever-growing list of broken promises from the Labour Party. Labour is systematically breaking every promise it made to students, to communities and to vulnerable families – promises they made in the full knowledge of the fiscal situation. As they prepare to increase student fees and cut grants, cut child benefit, impose household charges and water charges, close down nursing homes and army barracks, many voters will wonder what was the point in electing Labour?
“Over the last number of weeks Labour Ministers and backbenchers have been quick to promise that “headline” social welfare rates will be protected in the upcoming budget. For many families across the country there can hardly be anything more “headline” than support for raising their children.
“We heard much from Labour Leader Éamon Gilmore promising that if elected, it would be Labour’s way and not Frankfurt’s way. Now we are in situation where we hear details of their Budget from Germany first and we learn of a new u-turn every day, and people are wondering if the Labour Party have lost their way entirely?”