Opposition parties dismiss ‘sticking plaster’ cost-of-living budget

Opposition parties dismiss ‘sticking plaster’ cost-of-living budget

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty criticised the Budget. Picture: Centre for Ageing Better/PA

“Shock and awe” measures announced in the budget are not enough to help people struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, and are just “sticking plasters” on housing and inflationary problems, opposition parties have said.

After ministers Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath announced Budget 2023, opposition parties argued that the measures were not targeted enough, and argued against it being called a “giveaway” budget.

The budget has pushed people in Ireland’s squeezed middle to the bottom of the pile, Sinn Féin has said.

The party’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the spending package demonstrated that the coalition did not understand the scale of the cost-of-living crisis people were facing.

He said the budget contained too many instances of the Government “making the wrong choices or deciding on more of the same”.

Mr Doherty claimed one-off payments and tax reliefs would be “swallowed up” by inflation and soaring rents before they could make a difference in people’s pockets.

The senior Sinn Féin TD said: “The Government had the opportunity to give people certainty as they face into a winter of rising costs, certainty about energy costs, certainty on rents, certainty that those on fixed incomes would be shielded from the price rises that they have seen.

“They had an opportunity to plan for the future and deliver on housing, and on health, and on a real climate action. But they haven’t done that today.

Time and time again, we’ve seen ministers come into this Dáil and deliver budgets that promise much, but ultimately deliver little.

Labour TD Ged Nash said the money announced by the Government would be spread so thinly many people would not notice it.

He said: “Some of the one-off shock-and-awe measures we have seen today flatter to deceive.

“The four billion euro self-proclaimed bonanza is really designed to take the bare look off the meagre budget for 2023.

“A lot of money spread so thinly that some won’t even notice it while many, far too many, will still need more by the time this winter is out.

“The mantra of this budget was supposed to be targeting. On the evidence of this budget, your shooting, ministers, is way off.” 

Mr Nash said the worse off would see the least benefit from the budget.

He added: “Take your income tax measures; next year somebody earning €100,000 will be €831 a year better off.

“Contrast that with the situation of someone who is earning between €25,000 and €35,000. They will earn an additional €4 a week.” 

Labour TD Ged Nash said the money announced by the Government would be spread so thinly many people would not notice it.
Labour TD Ged Nash said the money announced by the Government would be spread so thinly many people would not notice it.

Party colleague Duncan Smith TD said: “Politics is about choices and it is clear this Government has made theirs.

“The giddiness that I’ve seen in the corridors outside this chamber today about this budget is not reflected in the households and businesses up and down this country.

“Most of the measures are either reheated, half-baked or they are just not going to be enough to help people.” 

Joint leader of the Social Democrats Róisín Shortall said short-term measures would not benefit people in the long term.

She told the Dáil: “Today’s budget has been billed as a giveaway budget.

“At nearly €11bn it is the largest one for years. But who will benefit the most from what has been announced today?

“If we look behind the figures it becomes very clear it is those on high incomes who will be most rewarded by this government with tax cuts and an array of universal lump sum payments that disproportionally benefit the better off.” 

She added: “Temporary supports will not help people in the medium to long term. They will not provide sustainable relief to those who can no longer afford the soaring prices for necessities.

The tragedy is that this was a budget that could have made a real difference to people’s lives.

“Never before has a government had so much money to invest in lifting people out of poverty and improving our public services.” 

People Before Profit/Solidarity TD Richard Boyd Barrett said that “people will not be fooled by one-off payments” announced in the budget and that he expected huge crowds to join another cost of living coalition protest planned for November 12.

He added: “What we actually got in this budget is not a giveaway, is not a bonanza – except maybe for the big corporations, the energy companies and the wealthy – but for ordinary people, we got a few sticking plasters on the gaping wound that is the housing and homelessness crisis and the cost-of-living crisis.

“And the truth of this will become apparent because, you see, in the end, you can’t hide the reality of what is actually in people’s pockets.” 

He said that the government’s own budget book suggests that a single worker earning between €25,000 and €30,000 will gain an extra €4 a week.

He said: “It barely scratches the surface. The people who needed help are going to be worse of next year than this year.” 

Mr Boyd Barrett’s colleague, Cork North-Central TD Mick Barry, said that there was “almost complete silence” from the government backbenches during the budgetary speeches, saying that this was because the budget does not go far enough to protect people from “the ravages” of inflation.

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