The Wheel's and Community and Voluntary Pillar's Plan for National Recovery
In the recent Choosing a Viable Future in Precarious Times briefing, The Wheel and our colleagues in the Community and Voluntary Pillar, argued that a government and a society defines itself by:
- The cuts it makes
- The people it protects
- Its effectiveness on economic growth/jobs
- Its actions on public services
- The balance it maintains between Government expenditure and taxation
- The values underpinning its choices.
There is no evidence that Government has examined the effects that the cumulative impact that the many cuts to services budgets will have on people
Poor people will be made poorer by the 4.1% cut in welfare rates, by prescription charges for medical-card holders, and by the increased cost of fuel. Unfair tax breaks that benefit the wealthy remain in place. Welfare rates have been cut, child benefit rates have been cut and Budget 2012 was particularly tough on unemployed young people.
The tax take has not been sufficiently increased and there still appears to be no strategic approach to achieving better value for money or public sector reform.
There have also been deep cuts to service budgets and many community and voluntary organizations, and the people they serve, will be negatively affected.
Additionally, there is no evidence that Government has examined the effects that the cumulative impact that the many cuts to services budgets will have on people who are dependent on public services. We will need to keep a close eye on how the myriad cuts to services budgets (amounting to €980M) cumulatively affect vulnerable people and the voluntary and community organizations that serve them.
The Wheel, together with our sixteen colleagues in the Community and Voluntary Pillar are working to further refine the Plan for National Recovery that protects vulnerable people. The Pillar will seek every opportunity available over the coming year to ensure that Government is aware of the options that are available to it (and the choices it will be making) to ensure that vulnerable people are protected when it frames Budget 2012.
Additionally, the Pillar will be monitoring the negative effects on vulnerable people of the provisions in Budget 2012 so that Government is kept aware of the situation over the coming year.