Fine Gael’s piecemeal Budget punishes the most vulnerable in our communities and fails to address critical issues facing the country, the Social Democrats said today.

Co-leaders Róisín Shortall TD and Catherine Murphy said:

“The country is beset with problems, from the housing and homelessness emergency to the year-round trolley crisis in health, the dearth of funding for disability services and any serious recognition of the climate emergency we face. Incredibly, today’s piecemeal Budget manages to pay lip service on many fronts but to credibly deliver on none.

“Despite the increasingly high cost of living and an inflation rate of 1.4 per cent, this Budget punishes the most vulnerable in our communities, with no cost-of-living increases to basic welfare rates or targeted disability services funding. Yet Fine Gael find it appropriate to extend special tax breaks for high earners with incomes above €75,000 under the SARP scheme.

“On carbon tax, the government has proven today that it has no plan to mitigate its impact for people on lower incomes. All we have seen is a €2 increase in fuel allowance which benefits only one in five households. The Social Democrats have been calling for a national retrofit scheme for homes to be delivered in a way that doesn’t impoverish people and this should have been agreed before the Budget and set out today.

“This Budget makes absolutely no provision to assist the thousands renting in the precarious private rental sector. Renters have effectively been ignored whilst rents spiral and insecure tenancies are the norm.”

ENDS

8th October 2019