Brady Slams Government Failure to Address Fears of Middle and Low Income Earners in Budget 23


Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has slammed the government’s failure to deliver a budget that would meet the needs of ordinary people. The families and individuals on low and middle incomes who had hoped the budget would address their fears in relation to the impact of high energy costs this winter, the massive rent increases, and the rise in mortgage payments are left with huge concerns following the government failure.

Brady said:

“The government promised to address the needs of those who were going to be worst affected this winter in the budget. They have failed to do so.

Something in the region of 1.8 million workers were left without any benefit from the budget. They in effect did not receive one dent from the government’s main tax proposal on Tuesday. So much for the cries of the government of its plans to help the squeezed middle.

Those families and individuals on low and middle incomes, who were in fear of what lay ahead before the budget, are as worried today as they were beforehand.

With more anticipated interest rates hikes being muted, with huge fears that we will witness more rent increases across the board in the coming months, and the certainty of eye watering energy bills ahead, the government has failed yet again.

A Sinn Féin budget would have slashed the USC and made cost of living payments to middle and low-income workers, putting €700 in the pockets of nurses, teachers, and private sector workers on €35,000.

The Government’s tax credit without any rent increase cap will just result in landlords hiking up already unsustainable rents. A tax credit for renters can only work when it is accompanied by a ban on rent increases – but this government has failed to do that! The reality is that landlords will pocket this credit with further rent hikes in the time ahead. This measure is also going to be inflationary. 

We would have put a month’s rent back into renters’ pockets and banned increases for the next three years.  Real action – real relief for renters. Sinn Féin would have brought electricity prices back to pre-crisis levels and capped them until next February.  Helping over 2 million households get through the winter months.

Our budget would have provided an extra €1.5bn to deliver 20,000 social and affordable homes – the government only provided an extra €68 million and no extra homes. It would have increased working age payments and payments to pensions who live alone by €17.50 and for people with disabilities by €20. We would have invested what is needed in disabilities and mental health service provision namely 152m and €82m of additional funding respectively.

Sinn Féin is the party of homeownership – this government has proven beyond all doubt that it is the party of speculators and developers. The government’s priorities are clearly evident in the €231 million of additional spending for pro-developer schemes such as the Help2buy, shared equity and leasing, but a mere €68 million extra for real public housing.

Brady continued:”

“The government once again failed to meaningfully address the crisis in the health service. As we head into a busy and demanding winter and wait time for hospitals, the additional budget spending on acute care is less than 1% – a mere 0.06%.  

The government has again failed to deliver on its commitment to extend free GP care to all children under 12.

This budget will do little to reduce waiting lists, or deal with the crisis in hospital emergency departments. The government has failed to fund additional beds. What we see is the absence of a plan, and a surrender to the chaos of crisis management.

For the second year in a row the government has reverted to ‘smoke and mirrors’, in relation to Mental Health funding. Of the €57.8 million committed by the government, the real increase in terms of additional funding is a mere €14 million.

Sinn Féin committed to spend €81.7 million for new measures in our Alternative Budget. Including additional funding for Primary Mental Health Care Services, Child and Adult Mental Health, and national clinical programme for early intervention in psychosis and perinatal Mental Health Services.

The lack of detailed breakdown of costs from the government across the budget headings stands in stark contrast to depth and detail offered in Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget, which was launched last week, and provides in depth detail of where and how Sinn Féin will find and fund its budget.”

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