The Society of St.Vincent de Paul has issued a strong warning to the Government that it should be careful that its policies do not cause long-term social consequences for the nation.
In its pre-Budget submission to the Government, the Society contrasts how much of the public debate surrounding the recession has been dominated by those in “establishment” organisations who portray marginalised groups and those who live on the poverty line as contributing to the downturn, but who
deflect attention from the wealth still held in Ireland.
“Polarised positions have been taken, with little movement towards common ground. The Social Welfare Budget has been portrayed as excessive and a drag on the economy. The Society of St.Vincent de Paul knows how many thousands of people have not seen their circumstances change during the ‘Celtic Tiger Years’ when increases in Social Welfare were quickly absorbed by rising living costs. These same people are now the most exposed.
“We urge the Government to avoid making the difficult situation now faced by families and individuals across the State even worse through unwarranted cuts that will have some short-term financial effect, but also longer-term social consequences,” said the National Vice-President of the Society, Professor John Monaghan.
“The Government should look to finding its savings or raising additional tax from deepening and broadening the tax base, not through increasing income tax, but by ending expensive tax reliefs; by eliminating wasteful practices and secure better value for money in the delivery of public services; reform of the public sector and examine all Capital projects with a view to only supporting those that create the maximum common good” he said.
“We do not want to look back on this period as one when the seeds of future social inequities were sown, but one in which the values necessary for a socially-just, fair and caring nation emerged.”
SVP PROPOSALS TO GOVERNMENT ON THE BUDGET
• In the absence of a Social Health Insurance model of funding public health care, the current medical card income guidelines and allowances should be retained.
• It is unacceptable that after nearly a decade of record growth in housebuilding there are still over 56,000 households on waiting lists for social housing.
• SVP welcomes the Homeless Strategy and implementation plan but warns that the target of ending long-term homelessness will not be met unless adequate resources are made available.
The full pre-Budget submission by the Society of St.Vincent de Paul, including the detailed proposals, can be read here.