Community Platform Condemns Budget 2010

The Community Platform, a network of 29 national organisations in the community sector that work to address poverty, inequality and social exclusion has expressed outrage at the government’s decision to protect the rich and punish the poor in Budget 2010.

The Community Platform graphically outlined the cumulative human impact of the Government’s budget cuts on many of the country’s most vulnerable families. Speaking at a recent press conference in Buswells Hotel, Siobhan O Donoghue  said that, "despite having clear choices on budget day the government chose to heap cuts on low income families pushing them further into poverty."

Ms O Donoghue continued, "It is now absolutely clear that this Government have no understanding of the human impact of the decisions they made last week. Brian Lenihan told people to believe that the worst is over, yet the decisions that his Government signed off on will push thousands of people closer to the precipice."

Also in attendance, John Stewart stated, "As the dust settles on the detail of last week’s budget, thousands of families across the country are coming to terms with the cumulative impact of cuts to social welfare, health, education and community services and wages. As organisations who work with these families we want to express our anger at the way in which the government has chosen to protect the rich and punish the poor."

There has been a lack of understanding in the public debate on the way in which families will face not just one or two but multiple cuts in income and services. The consequence of these cuts will be to deepen levels of poverty.

The Community Platform insist that it didn’t have to be like this and that the Government had choices and could have made different decisions on budget day.

For example, rather than cut €760 million from social welfare payments the government could have standardised all tax reliefs at the lower rate of 20%. This would have generated the same amount of revenue. Rather than reduce spending on front line public services in health, education and community development by €1 billion the government could have standardised pension tax relief at the lower band, again generating the same amount of revenue.

The Community Platform content that tese two actions would have raised more than the €1.8 billion the government has cut from low income families, those on social welfare and those in need of vital public services. They would also not have the same deflationary impact on the economy as those chosen by Minister Lenihan.

Ms. O Donoghue concluded that, "The human, social and economic consequences of these decisions will be felt for decades to come. People will be condemned to live in poverty and in the long run the state will pay far more to undo the damage done on December 9th."