Government plan doesn’t fail to dissapoint

10 February 2022

• Ireland needs a pay rise to avoid catastrophic fall in living standards
• Mini budget needed to insulate households as inflation set to rise by 5% in 2022
• Promised Budget pledges on GP care & transport cynically wrapped up in cost-of-living bow

Labour Party Spokesperson on Finance, Ged Nash has today (Thursday, 10th February) said that the Government kept its promise by disappointing the people of Ireland with another half-baked attempt to address the cost-of-living crisis.

Deputy Nash said:

“The government told struggling families to expect little from their cost-of-living package and they did not disappoint. With the European Commission forecasting that inflation in Ireland will grow by 5% again this year, today’s half-baked and tokenistic measures will ultimately lead us back to square one before long.

“Renters need a rent freeze. Workers need a pay rise and again Government is leaving them all feeling short-changed.

“The reality is that government is benefiting from a VAT windfall because of rising prices on fuel and energy with the Exchequer perversely profiting from the crisis. VAT returns in January were up €400m versus January 2020. There was €1 billion more in VAT collected than expected last year. By any measurement today’s conservative package from a conservative government has objectively failed to ensure that sufficient support finds its way to the people who need it most.

“This government is obsessed with spin and making promises they either can’t or don’t want to keep. They have chosen to cynically present long-promised Budget measures on free GP care, transport and childcare as components of this new cost-of-living package. This is an insult to the intelligence of the Irish people.

“For example, where is the urgency to deliver the much-trumpeted Youth Travel Card that was tacked on at the last minute to the budget in response to Labour’s costed proposals for free youth public transport?

“Transport affordability and access remains a huge issue for students in terms of the cost of living, as well as having a crucial role to play in climate action.

“The Government simply does not get the damage the cost-of-living crisis is wreaking across the country. They had choices here and we believe they chose the easier option. A mini-budget for 2022 is the only sensible and fair option. People need certainty and security over the coming months. This anaemic package will fail to deliver anything but more sleepless nights for hard-pressed households.

“We believe the Government must get real and accelerate the journey to a living wage, introduce a €200 carbon credit for all households, link social welfare payments to inflation into the future and extend the fuel allowance to more people who are on low and fixed incomes. Nothing less will do.”

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