Sinn Féin representative for Lucan and Palmerstown, Robert Ballesty, has described the latest Fianna Fáil/Green Party budget as an emigration budget and a sickening attack on working families and the ever growing numbers dependent on social welfare.
Ballesty said, “The Fianna Fáil/Green Party government have failed those most in need, they have failed working families who are struggling to pay childcare - families will lose their early childcare supplement. They have targeted families struggling to pay their mortgage as mortgage interest relief will be discontinued for any mortgage over 7 years from 1 May. Those on the lowest of incomes will see their taxes double.
“The job seekers allowance for under 20s has been cut in half, The personal rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance and basic Supplementary Allowance will be reduced for new claimants under 20 years of age to €100 per week from the first week of May 2009. The Qualified Adult rate payable to a Jobseeker’s Allowance/basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance claimant aged under 20 years will also be €100 per week.
“Minister Lenihan claims this measure is designed as an incentive to get young unemployed people to participate in training programmes. As the government have only allowed for the creation of 23,000 places in the budget on various training schemes this excuse is laughable, it does nothing for almost 350,000 unemployed, and the people who will be laid of in the coming months. This budget does not address the needs of the unemployed, there is no strategy for retraining or education. This budget will ensure, that once again, young Irish people will leave these shores in droves to seek work abroad. This is an emigration budget.
“By removing the Christmas bonus for those in long-term receipt of social welfare, this government will force vulnerable and desperate families into the hands of money lenders. These families are the ones shouldering a burden they had no part in creating. They have effectively cancelled Christmas for the poor.
“The government is cutting €200 million from the environment budget, principally social housing and water infrastructure. They are cutting €54 million from the school building programme. They are cutting €13 million from Sustainable Energy and Energy research programmes. They are cutting €300 million from public transport. “Successive Fianna Fáil led Governments have squandered the economic boom and led us into this crisis which has seen unemployment rise to record levels. For them to now be slashing funding for key public services which are more and more people are now dependant on is a disgrace. The fact that the Government completely neglected to include any job creation proposals in the budget adds insult to injury. This budget is a sickening attack on working families and the ever growing numbers dependant on social welfare.”