Budget 2011 is unjust, unfair and unacceptable. The choices made will rob the poor to protect people and institutions who caused many of Ireland’s problems through their reckless gambling with banks. It will seriously damage Ireland’s economy, social services and infrastructure.
Poor people will be the big losers as a result of the decisions made by Government in this Budget. The working poor, low income families with children and people on social welfare will see their poverty deepen or will be pushed into poverty.
People depending on public services will be seriously disadvantaged as these services decline and the cost of accessing them will put them beyond the reach of many. (p.19)
On the other hand, the rich and powerful, including senior bond holders and the corporate sector, will be the main beneficiaries in that they are not required either to pay for their misdeeds or to make a contribution towards Ireland’s rescue.
The Minister for Finance claimed that Ireland is continuing “to work off the excesses of the boom”. While accusations of excess could be levelled at some of the people who created the mess Ireland now finds itself in, it cannot be truthfully applied to Ireland’s poor people.
Likewise, it is misleading for the Minister to point to the increases in welfare rates in recent years to justify their reduction in Budget 2011.
An analysis of the past quarter century shows that the better off have benefitted far more than the working poor or those depending on welfare payments. For example the net, take-home, income of a Government Minister in 2011 (after the current budget changes are implemented) will be €1,034 a WEEK higher than it was in 1986. On the other hand the take-home income of a person in receipt of job-seekers benefit will have risen by only €136. This cannot justify a decrease in social welfare rates. We provide a range of similar comparisons on page 10.