Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Social Protection, Senator Paschal Mooney has called Minister Michael Noonan “disingenuous” for insinuating that the VAT hike will not hit poor families.
He commented, “Minister Noonan, as well as Fine Gael and Labour backbenchers, have parroted the line that the VAT hike only affects discretionary spending.
“A cursory glance at some of the items that will increase in price as a result of this anti-business move show how out of touch Fine Gael and Labour backbenchers are becoming. It includes: toilet roll, toothpaste, towels, soap, shampoo, detergents, pet food, children’s toys, exam papers, cooking foil, fruit juices, spectacles, false teeth, and even coffins.
“Which of these does the Government consider a luxury? The fact that these basic essentials are being described as ‘discretionary spending’ by Fine Gael and Labour ministers and backbenchers gives a clue to the level of thought they are putting into the plight of our most vulnerable citizens.
“This decision will stretch already limited budgets forcing families to shop elsewhere, which will have a disastrous impact on our towns and villages.”
Senator Mooney concluded: “The truth is that the move is unambiguously regressive and unfair. Ultimately, every little hurts, as Labour went to great expense to tell voters in the last days of the General Election. The poorest families will hurt most from this deeply unfair tax increase and those who were convinced to vote Labour and Fine Gael on the basis of their pre-election rhetoric would be correct in feeling very disappointed this evening.”