Budget 2015 choices must benefit whole of society


Budget 2015 presents a crucial opportunity to support a real and sustainable recovery – but only if the right choices are made, warns the Society of St Vincent de Paul and Barnardos.

John-Mark McCafferty, Head of Social Justice and Policy at the Society of St Vincent de Paul, said, “We keep hearing Budget 2015 will have some room to ‘give back’ to a society which has endured seven consecutive austerity budgets. Business interests have been loud and clear about what this should look like: tax cuts for higher incomes.

“While small improvements in the economy are happening it is not being felt by the vast majority of families. It is imperative Budget 2015 makes choices that are fair and equitable so ultimately sustainable recovery can be built. Social Justice Ireland research indicates a decrease in the top tax rate would benefit higher earners only. We want to see the Government share the fruits of economic recovery among all people, including low income families, and reduce taxes by adjusting tax credits.”

Fergus Finlay, CEO Barnardos, said: “Barnardos and St Vincent de Paul work directly with families who have borne the brunt of the austerity measures imposed during the recession and have been forced into desperate situations. They have seen their benefits whittled down, while access to essential services like healthcare and education has been reduced due to funding cutbacks.

“The impact is that since 2008 the proportion of children living on low incomes, unable to access basic necessities, has increased from 6.6% of the Irish population to 9.9% (one in 10). Ireland cannot dare claim it is in recovery unless we take steps to reduce that number.

“Budget decisions must start to reverse this damage and seek to build a long-term, sustainable recovery for the whole of society. Among the options, child benefit must be maintained at current levels, we need to invest in sustainable housing solutions and build supports for parents to move from welfare to work, limiting the chance of them falling more deeply into poverty traps.”

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