SF: Govt should have abolished water charges

SF: Govt should have abolished water charges

Sinn Féin's Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has described Budget 2015 as "deeply disappointing" and doing "nothing for struggling families".

The Donegal TD also criticised the Government for "failing to do the right thing by struggling families and abolish the water charge".

Michael Noonan announced in today's Budget a tax refund to offset water charges, with the household benefits package to be increased by €100 to alleviate the water charge cost.

Speaking during the budget debate Deputy Doherty said: "Recovery must mean people’s lives are improving, that the financial and emotional burden of the recession is lifted, that tomorrow is better than today.

"What today’s budget shows us is that there is a recovery but only for the few. The vast majority of people are no better off.

"A low paid worker on €30,000 will gain €174 – less than the lowest possible water charge bill of €176.

"A middle income earner on €50,000 will gain €546 – all of which will be wiped out by average property tax and water charge bills.

"While a high earner on €70,000 will gain €746 – the only category of worker who will gain any real benefit from your tax changes.

"Where is the help for low and middle income families in these changes?

"If the Government was serious about helping struggling families they would have abolished the water charges. Instead they chose to give a tax break to high earners.

The entry level for the standard income tax rate band was increased by €1,000 in the Budget and the higher income tax rate will drop from of 41% to 40%.

Mr Doherty said: "Budget 2015 lacks ambition. It doesn’t deal with the unemployment crisis, the housing crisis, or crisis in health. For most people it will mean yet another year of austerity."

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