Budget 2013 - A Prescription for Poverty and Inequality

Workers Party slam "vindictive and mean" budget which shows the class nature and class bias of this government

The Workers’ Party have described Budget 2013 as “a prescription for poverty which protects the wealthy, lights the spark of a fire-sale of state assets, and delivers a vicious kick in the teeth to workers, the poor and those who are ill”.

Workers’ Party President Michael Finnegan said that: “The budget combined the misery of Scrooge, the destructiveness of Attila the Hun, and the class antagonism of William Martin Murphy in a plan which was drawn up with a view to pleasing the Troika rather than providing an economic programme which would serve the needs of the majority of the Irish people. The six austerity budgets have cumulatively taken €28 billion from the Irish economy and during that process the poor have got poorer while the rich have got a lot richer”.

“There are many petty and mean cuts in this Budget but a number stand out as being particularly low.  The decision to increase the threshold for the Drugs Payment Scheme and to treble the prescription charges paid by medical card holders is particularly mean and will hurt many people who have serious health issues and are on low incomes.  I fear that it will now mean some of them will stop taking their medication because of the cost of it following these cuts”. 

“The cuts to the children’s allowance which particularly affects larger families, and to the back to school clothing and footwear allowance are both an attack on poorer families and an attack on the rights of children. It is particularly appalling that these cuts, which will drive some families into dire poverty, are being implemented less than a month after the Children’s Rights Referendum of November 10th.”

“Once again the unemployed are viciously targeted in this budget. For example a person on Jobseeker’s Allowance, with four school-going children, will suffer a direct cut of €22 per week. This is excluding any extra medical costs arising from changes to the medical card scheme.”

“The further €13 million attack on the VECs, who are the major educational providers to the most deprived communities, allied to the existing cuts to CE schemes pushes training and education further from the reach on many working and unemployed people”.

“The ending of the severance packages for retiring TDs", said Mr Finnegan,  "and the scrapping of un-vouched expenses was welcome but was mere window dressing. The complete refusal of the government to introduce a third rate of income tax, for income in excess of €100,000 per year, shows the class nature and class bias of this government. Furthermore the refusal of the government to introduce a wealth tax at even the most minimal level speaks volumes”.

“This country needs almost 500,000 jobs. This budget will not create them, or even help in their creation. Instead, by attacking the least wealthy and lowest paid in society, the very people who spend all of their income in the local economy, the budget has put existing jobs in jeopardy thus adding to already record dole queues”

Issued 5th December 2012

Peace, Work, Democracy & Class Politics