Tuesday, 8 October 2019
Financial Resolutions - Budget Statement 2020
Mick Barry (Cork North Central, Solidarity)
The Budget Statement mentions the Brexit emergency and the climate emergency but what about the housing emergency? We are experiencing the biggest housing crisis in the history of the State, yet in the budget we have effectively been told that housing must wait. Skyrocketing rents are causing distress in the daily lives of so many people. There were two sentences in the Budget Statement about rent and the rent crisis, and neither mentioned the phrases "rent freeze" or "rent cuts". There was no mention either of anti-eviction legislation or a massive nationwide local authority house building programme. The Budget Statement mentioned two emergencies and forgot all about the third one.
The Government has nailed its colours to the mast on the issue of who is going to pay for Brexit. That was very clear today from the Budget Statement. Those on the minimum wage, the lowest paid workers in the entire State, are due to receive a paltry 30 cent increase at the beginning of January. That is completely inadequate at a time the living wage is conservatively estimated at €12.30 an hour. What does the Government do? It defers payment for the lowest paid workers in the State. It says that employers may need a breathing space at that point. What about the breathing space for the low-paid workers who are crucified by the increasing cost of living and the increases in rent imposed by their landlords? What the Government did today on the minimum wage was indicative of its entire approach to who pays for a no-deal Brexit.
The Government, with the support of Fianna Fáil, froze the State pension in the fastest growing economy in Europe. The annual €5 a week increases have been completely inadequate but, in reality, they are not even €5 increases as they do not come in until the month of April. Measured over a year, the increase is €3.75 a week. Even that paltry sum was denied to pensioners this year, and it was done with the support of the Fianna Fáil Party. Let that be remembered when the by-elections take place in November.