Laois/Offaly Sinn Féin Deputy Brian Stanley, has accused the government of “attacking the least well off for the sins committed by bankers and developers.”
Responding to Budget 2013 the Laois/Offaly TD said, “The government claimed that they were ‘protecting the most vulnerable’. Nothing could be further from the truth. What we saw today was a travesty. But it must be clearly said, this government had other choices.
“Sinn Fein put forward clear, costed and credible alternatives. Our budget would introduce a new third rate of tax, 48% on income over €100,000. This would yield €365 million. A new Wealth Tax of one percent would bring in a further €800 million.
“The government attacked students, the low paid, children and the elderly.
It has increased students fees by €250 for the next three years, cut funding to already overstretched VECs by €13m and cut funding to higher education institutions by €25m.
“They have increased the PRSI payment for the low paid and self-employed. While cutting payment to Jobseekers’ Allowance by three months. They targeted our Old Age Pensioners by reducing funding for telephone and electricity allowance by €81m.
“One of the most vicious attacks in this budget is the further cut in Child Benefit of €10 a month per child. This will further increase child poverty.
“The new Property Tax will amount to threefold increase in the Household Charge for the average household. Minister Noonan confirmed today that there will be no waivers. No account has been taken of ability to pay. Those on disability will pay the same as the millionaire, minister or banker.
“This sixth austerity budget heaped further pain and hardship on low and middle income households. It will damage employment, growth and essential front line services. It is a disgrace. Labour Party members, in particular, should hang their heads in shame.”