Following the publication of Budget 2022, Sinn Féin TD for Co. Clare Violet-Anne Wynne TD has said that the allocations announced yesterday will amount to little in terms of improving the lives of the most vulnerable in Irish society.
Teachta Wynne said:
“What we needed yesterday was a Budget that created reformative, integral changes to the way in which key areas such as housing, health and childcare are provided in this country.
“What we got instead was more of the same FF/FG pretence, tinkering-the-edges of expenditure, but lacking substantial improvements.
“This is the sixth budget delivered by the Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael partnership and it shows. It will come and go without making any difference for workers and families. They are out of touch, out of ideas. We needed a budget with direction, intent and leadership.
“This Budget shows that they don’t have a clue what life is like for hard-pressed renters paying sky high rents, for parents crippled with childcare costs or for households hammered by the cost of living who are now dreading the arrival of their winter energy bills.
“The Living Wage was increased by 60c in September of this year. Meaning it costs 60c more just to keep afloat, above the poverty line, now in Irish society than it did previously.
“How do this Government respond to this change? By increasing the minimum wage by 30c – what a slap in the face to workers. 1 in 5 workers on this island are earning minimum wage, which means that this administration is willing to put 20% of its labour force at risk of deprivation.
“The Budget was an opportunity to bridge the gap between rising costs and peoples incomes – the Government has missed the mark massively here.
“Especially considering that a lot of these workers are out frontline heroes who have worked through the pandemic and deserve to be rewarded not disrespected.
“For renters, it’s just as bleak. There is absolutely nothing in this Budget for renters who continue to be crippled by rising rents.
“Clare folk will be particularly affected by this as rent increases in Clare are the second highest nationally. More and more people cannot afford the private rental market.
“A Sinn Féin Government would cut rents and freeze them for the next 3 years. This Budget basically leaves renters to fend for themselves.
“Rebranding Vacant Site Levy as a ‘Zoned Tax Levy’ is an exercise in futility. Fianna Fáil promised to raise it to 15% in their election manifesto.
“It has been set at 7%, despite the fact that most Local Authorities haven’t actually implemented it and it remains uncollected in an alarming amount of constituencies including Clare.
“It was set at 7%, has now been dropped to 3% and given a different name and is not set to come into effect for another few years? This demonstrates inefficiency at best, incompetency at worst.
“The €78m additional investment for Early Years Sector is welcome but falls far short of what is actually needed to provide equality for staff, protection for providers and most importantly access for children.
“Finally, in terms of improving the quality of lives of Disabled People – it is another devastating blow. A Budget that refuses to meet the cost of unmet need as presented in the Disability Capacity review and to accept the fact that Disabled People must make do with a substandard quality of life.
“That they will be over-represented in on social housing lists and unemployment figures.
“The Government announced a raise of €5 to the Disability Payment – half of what Sinn Féin proposed, and not nearly enough the empower Disabled People.
“In fact, the government’s total additional spending across all social welfare payments was €568m while Sinn Féin’s Budget costed an additional €1bn. for increases to payments that would protect those who needed it the most.
“We would have put workers and families first. We would have targeted resources where they are most needed now to tackle the crisis we have in health, in housing and in the cost of living.”