The Workers’ Party has condemned today’s emergency budget as a miserable failure which only exacerbates the damage to the Irish economy caused by a golden circle who continue to gravitate around Government Buildings and hobnob with senior figures in Fianna Fáil.
Workers’ Party President Michael Finnegan said that Finance Minister Brian Lenihan had added insult to injury for ordinary PAYE workers, the unemployed and pensioners by placing the toxic debts of the banks on their shoulders while refusing to nationalise the banks and bring their assets into public ownership.
Mr. Finnegan said the new toxic debts agency in no way guarantees the supply of credit to families and small businesses and lands the taxpayer with a potential liability of at least €90 billion or the equivalent of three times the annual tax take of the state.
“In the lead-up to this emergency budget the Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan was adamant that the measures contained within it would be based on sharing the pain of the economic collapse. This clearly hasn’t happened and once again it is ordinary workers and the least well off in society who are bearing all the pain with some petty cosmetic efforts to show otherwise”.
“In particular, the doubling of the income levy and reduction of its threshold, which will have workers earning the bare Minimum Wage lose almost €7.00 a week, is a savage and punitive attack on low-paid workers. The halving of Jobseekers Allowance for the under 20s is not so much an incentive for young people to seek training but rather a measure towards forced emigration, but of course the emigration boat has always been Fianna Fáil’s solution to a crisis”, said the Workers Party President
Mr. Finnegan also condemned the decision to abolish the Christmas Bonus for social welfare recipients saying it would leave many families go hungry this Christmas and pointed out that while additional social welfare inspectors are to be appointed there will be no additional inspectors to deal with the banks or with tax evaders. “This is a budget to protect the rich and to make the ordinary workers and the poor pay for the outright greed and recklessness of Fianna Fáil’s friends in the banking and financial services sector” said Mr. Finnegan
Issued Tuesday, 7th April 2009