Michael Finnegan, President of the Workers’ Party, has said today's budget substantially
benefits the "Haves" at the expense of the "Have Nots"
“Once again”, said Mr. Finnegan, “this government
has refused to introduce a wealth tax, refused to introduce a third tax band for income over €100,000 per annum, and
refused to reform the scandal of our corporation tax system”.
“For the sixth year in a row Ireland has been subjected to severe budgetary cutbacks,
with a further €2.5 billion package of cuts and tax hikes this year. Sadly the much heralded exit from the Troika programme
will not signal a new dawn for
the Irish people who will continue to be saddled
with the debts of the bankers and building speculators for the next 30 years”.
“The most striking feature
of this budget is the savage reduction in the level of social welfare payments to young people under the age of 26. To ask
any person of any age to try and survive on €100 or €144 per week is insulting, demeaning, and completely unreasonable.
Clearly the government’s hope behind this measure is that unemployed young people will simply abandon all hope and emigrate,
thus artificially reducing the unemployment numbers and our national social welfare spending.”, said Mr. Finnegan.
“Over the last two days the government has been furiously spinning the introduction
of free GP care for all under-5s as some sort of revolution in health care. The reality is that once again there have been
savage cuts in the health budget and that these cuts target the most vulnerable. Reducing the availability of medical cards
for the over-70s is particularly negative with serious and possibly fatal consequences. Equally negative, and equally
serious, is the massive 66% increase in prescription charges to €2.50 per item. The abolition of the bereavement
allowance and the telephone allowance is completely gratuitous and
will again be a cause of great worry and anxiety to older people.”
“Since the onset of the present economic crisis in 2008 single parents, and single
parent families, have been particularly targeted. Once again children and young parents have been callously targeted.
The change to the tax treatment of single parents is particularly anti-child and anti-family and will not materially affect
our overall budgetary position.”
“In conclusion”, said Mr Finnegan, “the cuts and tax increases of this
budget have been loaded exclusively onto the backs of workers and vulnerable people while the incentives and tax breaks are
all to the benefit of the already wealthy. This is a budget that benefits the haves at the expense of the have-nots
and which is designed to drive young people out or into low-paid exploitative jobs. If there is any Labour Party input into
this budget it is in the gimmicks department while the rest of the document is plastered with the grubby handprints of Fine
Gael and IBEC”.
Issued 15th October