Charity: Plan Inflicts Further Pain on Vulnerable
Housing charity Respond! has expressed "extreme disappointment" with the Government’s austerity plan released today.
The Respond! Housing Association maintains that the vulnerable in Irish society will be made to pay for the recklessness of others.
The housing charity maintains those at risk of poverty will now be pushed over the edge as income and social welfare will be reduced and the cost of living will rise due to VAT increases.
...those on social welfare have already been severely hit by cutbacks in public expenditure on services and supports in their community.
According to spokesperson Aoife Walsh, families and communities will be left devastated by today’s National Development Plan.
Ms Walsh said: "It is totally unacceptable that those earning the minimum wage will see their weekly income reduced by more than 11% to €7.65 per hour. The focus in this National Recovery Plan appears to be on those at the bottom of the earning scale, and not those at the top.
To think that someone on the minium wage working 39 hours per week will now be brought into the tax net is absurd. They have already been contributing since the introduction of the income levy in May 2009 and now they are being asked to contribute even more.
One in three households at risk of poverty is headed by a person in employment and Respond! believes this plan will inflict further hardship on these families and households. ”
The charity is also concerned at the Government’s plan to reduce the social welfare bill by €740m in 2011.
The housing charity contends that those on social welfare have already been severely hit by cutbacks in public expenditure on services and supports in their community.
Ms Walsh said: "The poorest in Irish society did not benefit from the Celtic Tiger, did not cause this recession but yet they are being made to pay disproportionately for the mistakes of others. The cuts in welfare rates in last year’s budget, as well as the removal of the christmas social welfare payment in 2009 means this group has paid enough.
"Those earning the minimum wage or living on social welfare should not be forced to pay the cost of our economic crisis."
Respond! questions whether the National Recovery Plan will achieve the objective of a return to sustainable growth.
The housing charity contends that reducing disposable income through tax increases while at the same time increasing the cost of living through VAT increases is counter-productive.