#Budget2020 - political reaction: A missed chance to give workers and families a break say Sinn Fein

#Budget2020 - political reaction: A missed chance to give workers and families a  break say Sinn Fein

The government has failed to give workers and families a break in budget 2020, according to Sinn Féin.

Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said the budget was short on ideas, short on policies and short on solutions.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon Teachta Doherty said the budget could and should have given workers and families a break.

"It hasn’t. With the political will and the right ideas, this budget could put money back in people’s pockets and improved their access to public services.

“It could have begun to broaden our horizons, making sure that work pays and delivers security and the chance to plan for the future.

“It could have begun to build a fair tax system, making sure that those who benefit most from our economy pay their fair share – the banks, multinationals and international property investors who have enjoyed a free ride for far too long.

He went on to say the budget has failed to deliver and was "short on ideas, short on policies, short on solutions.

"It is a budget that lacks ambition, lacks direction, and lacks hope. This is not the budget Sinn Féin would have delivered.

“Sinn Féin would have would have brought forward real and deliverable solutions, putting citizens, not vested interests, at the center of our economy and at the top of our priorities.

“We would have tackled the rip-off costs faced by countless families – sky-high premiums, extortionate rents, eye-watering childcare costs and back to school costs.

“That would have raised incomes and made sure that work delivers a secure standard of living.”

Meanwhile, Solidarity/RISE TD Paul Murphy tweeted that Minister Donohoe is punishing those who cannot afford carbon taxes.

“A tale of two budgets. Eco-austerity with carbon tax for working class people, no increase in pensions or welfare,” he wrote.

“Tax breaks for developers and rich with extension of ‘Help To Profit’ for developers, and extension of SARP and FED for high earners.”

Labour say those on lowest and fixed incomes are unsupported by budget 2020

#Budget2020 - political reaction: A missed chance to give workers and families a  break say Sinn Fein

Labour have criticised the Government and Fianna Fáil for failing in Budget 2020 to support those on low and fixed incomes.

The party's spokesperson on Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Senator Ged Nash, expressed disappointment, in particular, at the fact that the budget included no increase to core social welfare rates despite those on fixed incomes facing increased living costs in 2020 and expressed alarm at the fact that no mention was made in the Minister’s speech of the increase in the minimum wage and when it will come into force.

“Inflation of 1.5% is expected next year but if you are a carer, a pensioner couple or someone with disabilities you will have to live on less in 2020. In the real world this is a cut in all but name. This represents a slap in the face for the most vulnerable in society and an utter humiliation for Fianna Fáil.

“A no deal Brexit will also result in increased food and living costs for those on low and fixed incomes.

“How can Fine Gael describe this as a Brexit Budget, when those whose living standards will be most impacted by a no-deal Brexit are left behind?

He went on: “The Low Pay Commission recommended an increase in the minimum wage to €10.10 an hour from €9.80 but the Minister failed to announce when it will be implemented.

“It was leaked yesterday that the increase will be delayed until March. It is simply unacceptable that those on the lowest pay must wait for a modest inflation-proofed rise in their pay.”

Labour spokesperson on Housing, Deputy Jan O’Sullivan, has said the Government has failed to deliver a housing budget that will radically address the ongoing crisis.

Deputy O’Sullivan said the housing and homelessness crisis is one of the biggest issues this country has ever faced.

“There’s no step-change in the snail’s pace delivery of social housing, no affordable housing, minimal support for retrofitting for low-income households…no ambition.

“Does the Government not know the struggles people face or do they not care?

Responding to the lack of policy announcements about Education in Budget 2020, Labour Education spokesperson, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said he was disappointed to see that there has been no reduction in record class sizes in Budget 2020 for most schools but accepted there had been some movement on the ratio for small schools.

“The reality is that the life of a teacher, principal or child is the same pre-Budget as it will be post Budget 2020.”

#Budget2020 - political reaction: A missed chance to give workers and families a  break say Sinn Fein

Fianna Fail say support for #Budget2020 is not endorsement

Fianna Fail has called on the government to come clean on its no-deal Brexit plans for communities after declaring that the public will have their say at election time, writes Juno McEnroe.

Insisting his party's support for the Fine Gael-led government's fourth budget should not be seen as an endorsement, Mr McGrath said it was needed as the country faced into a Brexit storm.

The main opposition party has claimed victory in securing wins in the €3.2bn budget for hospital procedures, extra home help hours and services, including more gardai. But Mr McGrath warned that the winds of change were coming for Ireland. Responding to the government's budget in the Dail chamber, he said:

“Our decision to allow a fourth budget to pass should not be misread as an endorsement of this government. Like many of our citizens, we are deeply frustrated at the government’s obsession with spin and PR, and the failure to deliver where it matters.

“The people will have their opportunity to give their verdict on the government, but for now the priority has to be to steer the country through this Brexit storm.”

The peace process should not be taken for granted, said the Cork South Central TD, adding:

“The government, first, needs to come clean on what a ‘no deal’ Brexit will look like for people and businesses.

“Up until relatively recently, the government assured those same businesses that there would be no physical infrastructure on the border, even in the event of a no deal.

“Yet slowly and surely it has become clear that this will not be the case. The government language has noticeably changed. There will be checks if there is a no deal, but we have no clarity on what this will look like.”

There was also a very real risk of the economy slowing, it was warned, especially with the reliance on corporation tax windfalls to fund services.

“The economic winds have been at our back for the past few years – low interest rates, the ECB stimulus programme, strong global demand, buoyant corporation tax receipts – but all predictions now say the risks are on the downside.

“Ireland has benefited from a bonanza of corporation tax receipts in the past few years.”

"The stark truth is not one euro of it has been put away.

“The bottom line is our public finances should be in a better place than they are heading into a potential Brexit crisis.

“We have been seriously exposed by the management of the public finances in recent years,” argued the opposition finance spokesman.

He added that corporation tax receipts informing part of the Budget today were “not certain, volatile and cannot be relied upon”.

These receipts added an extra €800m to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe's financial firepower in preparing the budget and will in part help pay for bailouts for overspending in several departments, including health. Overspending there has amounted to over €300m for this year.

Mr McGrath also complained about red tape obstructing initiatives for firms and measures to support risks. Low numbers had signed up to reliefs, he said:

#Budget2020 - political reaction: A missed chance to give workers and families a  break say Sinn Fein

“And we must remember that every bit of red tape added puts a cost on the SMEs. More time is needed to process applications and more hours are needed from accountants and tax consultants. SMEs also fearful of making an incorrect tax return and the consequences that follow, have simply walked away.”

There was also strong criticism from the TD over high insurance claims and people playing the system, the Dail heard.

“The government needs to get serious about insurance fraud and begin to tackle the high level of personal injury awards that relatively minor injuries are receiving.

“There seems to be no consequence for chancers bringing a bogus insurance claim that honest policyholders will end up carrying the can for,” said Mr McGrath.

Listing a range of measures from housing to health to welfare, the TD then went on to say:

“If given the opportunity to serve in government, we will achieve so much more.

“Time is running out for this government. We look forward to the day when the Irish people have their say.”

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