12 October 2016

The Government needs to immediately clarify when social welfare increases outlined in yesterday’s Budget will come into effect, says Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin.

When pressed on the matter by Deputy Howlin in the Dáil this morning, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny could only confirm that the payments would be made “across the month of March”, and insisted this would be dealt with when the Social Welfare Bill is published in a fortnight.

As Deputy Howlin pointed out, this makes a mockery of the Budget published yesterday.

“The date that a measure takes effect isn’t just an administrative change, as the Government and Fianna Fáil would like us to believe. Every additional week will come with an additional cost. If the Government cannot confirm the start date, then they cannot confirm the cost. And if they cannot confirm the cost, then they cannot stand over the Budget documents published yesterday.

People are going to make their own plans in relation to this modest restoration of monies- and need to know exactly when this payment is going to be made

I can’t recall a situation where a Minister’s spokesman announced on the day of the Budget that the date for the social welfare increase had not been agreed. It is completely unheard of for the Minister responsible for spending to still be unable to clarify this on the day after the Budget. And the Taoiseach’s answer in the Dáil was pure bluster this morning.

If a Budget has been agreed, the Government should be able to answer simple questions on it. It seems that new politics means that clear decisions are never made, even on matters as important as the national Budget.”

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