Although some individuals and families were protected from the worst of the cuts in Budget 2014, it is clear that the struggles for thousands of others will be worsened from January 2014. While a number of the SVP’s key demands were met (protection of most social welfare payments, family income supplement, child benefit, fuel allowance and educational supports), the cumulative effect of increased charges and reduced payments in other areas will have a severe impact on the lives of people who are struggling.
We asked Government to announce a budget for 2014 which did not cause further damage to our communities and people, but instead provided us all with hope and a future to look forward to. Cuts to supports such as child benefit, social welfare, household benefits, medical cards and education, which only a few years ago would have been unthinkable, have happened each year since 2008. The cumulative impact of these cuts continues to affect those who are struggling. SVP is relieved that some of the harshest cuts which happened in previous years did not continue for 2014.
However, for many people: older people in poor health or living in isolation; individuals and families who fear losing their medical card; those who have already lost the medical card in spite of being in medical and financial need; people who can no longer afford to pay for the prescriptions they need; families with children who have borne the brunt of the cuts in recent years and young people who now feel that the only option open to them is to try and find the resources they need to emigrate, Budget 2014 provides little by way of hope. Too many people across Ireland are faced with a very difficult future as a result of the austerity measures that have been implemented in recent years.