Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection and Social Equality, Willie O’Dea TD, says the latest Social Justice Ireland socio-economic review confirms that the Government’s budgetary approach is not working and penalises the most vulnerable.
The report ‘Would Real Recovery Look Like? Securing Economic Development, Social Equity and Sustainability’ was released today and reaffirms the belief that Government policy is not doing enough to tackle such issues as high unemployment and emigration.
Deputy O’Dea commented: “Last year, Social Justice Ireland described Budget 2011 as the most regressive since the recession hit; Budget 2012 has continued in the same vein. The group says that last year’s budget was again deeply regressive and does nothing to spark economic growth.
“We see the result of the Government’s regressive policies every day. Cuts to Child Benefit ,Home Help hours, the Mobility Allowance, the Domiciliary Care Allowance are just some examples of the hardship that has been imposed on families throughout the country in a variety of different ways
“The report says that the Government is not fairly splitting the budget adjustments between taxation and cuts. There is far too much emphasis on cuts and this is having a hugely negative effect on the most vulnerable in society.
“Fianna Fáil has suggested that there should be a 3% rise in taxation for those earning over €100,000 a year and this would mean that these callous cuts could be reversed.
“The National Anti-Poverty Strategy (NAPS) that the previous Government signed up to, committed to keep social welfare payments equivalent to 30% of the average gross earnings. The Government is failing badly to meet these targets. Over 730,000 people in Ireland live in poverty, this represents 16% of the population and it is a shocking indictment of this Government. Instead of addressing the problems our most vulnerable people face, the government is adding to them.
“The Government must rethink its approach to tackling poverty. The current budgetary approach is not working and unless there is a change, we will see more and more people slip into poverty.”