The Workers Party have said that the budget introduced by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan penalises workers for the wrongdoings of bankers and speculators.
Party President Michael Finnegan said that the impact of the budget will once again fall on low and middle-income PAYE workers as well as on all those relying on Social Welfare payments.
“The 1% levy on all income is an insult to all workers who, only three weeks ago, were being asked to suffer a pay-pause of between three and eleven months. The 2% income levy on incomes over €100,000 is a joke. If the government was serious they would not have bothered with any levy and instead introduced a third tax band of 50% on all income over €120,000. Instead we have what is in effect a bank levy being imposed on workers”, said Mr. Finnegan.
“The social welfare and pension increases will leave these most vulnerable groups much worse off. General inflation is over 5% and food inflation is over 10%. Yet the social welfare increase is a miserly 3%. Elderly people will, sadly, have to choose between food, fuel and adequate clothing this winter. This is some legacy of the Celtic Tiger”.
“Once again the speculators and bankers have been rewarded by their friends in Fianna Fail and its allies. The reduction in stamp duty for commercial building transactions; the changes in the mortgage level which Local Authorities may grant; and the updated and renamed shared ownership scheme are all designed to help builders and speculators - the very people who have caused so much of the current crisis; the people who have forced young couples to commute for hours to the major cities; the people who hoarded building land in order to continually force house prices upwards - these are being rewarded while working people are being taxed at an even higher level”, said the Workers Party President.
“After eleven years of Fianna Fail-led coalitions our health service is a disgrace and under the undemocratic and unaccountable HSE rapidly deteriorating. This budget has done nothing to stop the rot in this vital public service; has done nothing to end the diversion of resources from the public health sector to the private profit makers; and has done nothing to strip away the levels of unaccountable bureaucracy. It is an opportunity squandered. It is no more than we would expect from a government which is a mouthpiece for the very groups who have caused the crisis in the first place. This is a budget to penalise the poor for the sins of the rich”, said Michael Finnegan.
Issued Tuesday, 14th October 2008.