Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection John Brady TD has insisted that some of the measures announced for Social Protection in yesterday’s Budget are not all that they seem.
Speaking during Budget statements in the Dáil, Teachta Brady said:
“There are a number of social protection measures outlined in Budget 2020 which make the Government look good. Unfortunately, that is about all they do.
“The increase in jobseeker payments for the young unemployed to the full rate might seem like an end to age discrimination for young jobseekers.
“However, all the Government are actually doing is replacing age discrimination with a different type of discrimination.
“Those aged 18-24 years living independently and in receipt of housing support will see their jobseeker’s payment increased to the full rate of €203, but those that do not live independently will remain on €112.70.
“This also begs the questions as to how many young jobseekers aged 18-24 living on €112.70 per week live independently?
“Clearly, not too many given that the Government have only allocated €5.2 million to bring all those aged under 26 years to the full rate when the actual cost of restoring full equality is closer to €60 million.
“The increase in the Fuel Allowance might sound good especially given increased energy costs in recent years,
“However, the insistence by Government that this will offset the €6 increase in carbon tax is ridiculous. The Fuel Allowance increase won’t cover increased fuel costs let alone the regressive carbon tax.
“The allocation of funding to research child maintenance appears to suggest that the Minister is looking to establish guidelines that ‘hopefully’ will be put on a statutory footing, rather than an actual Child Maintenance Service, which is so desperately needed.
“Guidelines will do nothing for lone parents who are currently left to seek maintenance through the courts.
“Sinn Féin made different choices in our Alternative Budget including no increase in carbon tax, a Living Wage of €12.30 for workers, full equality for young jobseekers not dependent on age or where they live, and the statutory Child Maintenance Service that lone parent families in this State deserve.”