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The Low Paid Shoulder The Burdens Of The December Budget

Last Wednesday’s Budget should have been strongly centred on job creation and sustainability but instead failed miserably to help unemployed people or employees holding onto a job by their fingernails, according to Deputy Noel Coonan. The Fine Gael TD also said this Government has effectively cancelled Christmas for a majority of the people of North Tipperary.

Deputy Noel Coonan

Deputy Noel Coonan

Deputy Noel Coonan stated:

“As a result of the Budget, we have people living on less than €100 a week. We have 315,000 public servants nationwide taking a pay cut. We have extremely irate parents suffering 4% cuts in Social Welfare. We are going to have riots on the streets and heavy industrial action. We are facing one of the worse winters in the history of the state.

The Government has pick-pocketed the most poor and sick with prescription charges for medical card holders, an increase in the drugs payment threshold and a mere €10million for home care packages. The €221million cut to child benefit will rob families of €16 per child per month and will not help get this country back to work.

The farming community has sadly been attacked once again with a 13% cut in the Department’s Budget. To ease some of the pain for this vital sector, Fine Gael called for the Government to exempt farm diesel from the carbon tax but in return they slapped 4cent on every litre. Another sector that is struggling badly are thousands of home owners who are in negative equity and under huge worry and stress. This Government has provided no real help for these people.

Who would have ever thought Fianna Fáil would stoop so low to take money off blind people and widows by reducing their pension? Meanwhile, they failed to bring those on highest incomes further into the tax net. Where is the fairness and equality in that?”

The Fine Gael Deputy went on to said that not even the lowest of the low paid will escape a wage cut. Part-time public sector workers not in the tax net and earning less than €18,500 will face a 5% drop in take-home pay, almost twice as much as a Minister for State.

“We were told that Ministers in the Fianna Fáil/Green Government will take a 15% pay cut but this is false and highly misleading. They will actually only take a 5% pay cut as a result of Budget 2010, because it includes in the 10% cut already imposed earlier this year.

It is hugely worrying that this short-sighted Budget has not addressed the issue of job losses. There is a lack of any comprehensive jobs strategy. The Budget will not transform the bad credit situation for employers, small businesses and farmers. The majority of those who have lost their jobs are under the age of 33 and these people should have been nurtured as the building blocks of the future.

April’s Supplementary Budget cancelled the Christmas Bonus, but this Budget has cancelled any hope of a happy Christmas for people living in my constituency. I’m deeply disappointed in Government Deputies Lowry and Hoctor who have once again supported this Government by voting in favour of their incompetent policies. I hope the deals made with Taoiseach Brian Cowen are worth the hardship inflicted on North Tipperary constituents.

Fine Gael realise that savings must be made in tough times and we outlined a fair and more credible way to do this in our pre-budget perspective. Instead of higher prescription charges, Fine Gael would cut supplier charges for generic drugs. Instead of an embarrassing VAT increase reversal happening after the Christmas rush, Fine Gael would immediately cut VAT.  We would wind down Anglo Irish Bank.

PrimeTime recently revealed welfare fraud cost the Exchequer almost €2 billion annually. A more vigilant Government could have used this large stream of money to lessen the burden this Budget has pressed on our shoulders,” concluded Deputy Coonan.” continued Deputy Coonan.

For full details of Wednesday’s Budget ckick here

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