Thursday, 19 May 2022
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
The Tánaiste missed the point. We recognise what happened in the budget and the measures taken.
We had to push the Government repeatedly even to move in respect of petrol and diesel. It still did not go far enough. I can tell the Tánaiste, hand on heart, that the people who come into my constituency office and those of my colleagues are not ranting to us when they tell us they cannot make ends meet and are facing serious choices this year in respect of how to heat their homes, clothe their children and put food on the table. They are telling us that they are social welfare dependent. The social welfare rates have not been increased by the Government despite the fact that inflation is running at over 7% and these individuals have a higher rate of inflation. Renters are telling us that they cannot afford the rent increases, not even the 2% the Tánaiste is talking about - in many areas it is far more than that - and are being forced into homelessness. They are not ranting to us; they are telling us their life experiences.
Will the Government respond to the immediate needs faced by low- and middle-income households and families that need additional supports in the form of social welfare increases, rent rebates and a reduction in childcare costs?