SIPTU criticises contradictory and regressive Budget
SIPTU General Secretary designate, Joe Cunningham, has said that Budget 2020 is muddled, contradictory and regressive.
“Workers paid for the banking crisis and the budgetary crisis. Now it seems our members and other workers are expected to pay for Brexit and the climate crisis. In our view the budget is muddled, contradictory and regressive,” Joe Cunningham said.
“Unless there is strict accountability, the Brexit fund promised in the Budget 2020 could become a massive handover to employers. All the stakeholders – employees, employers and the State – must be involved in the design, monitoring and evaluation of any spending from this fund. It is crucial that ‘good faith employers’ – those employers that participate in, and abide by, the state’s industrial relations machinery – be given particular preference.”
“They have projected falling investment and housing construction in a ‘no-deal’ scenario. Yet, it has not taken the opportunity to spend even a small portion of the €20 billion in state savings to build more public housing. Such investment would not only be a boost to the productive economy through lower rents, it also would be a proper response to falling growth. The increase in the Housing Assistance Payment to landlords in the budget is twice as much as the cost of projected social housing construction. This is a continuation of a failed housing policy. Instead of a State, local authority led investment programme to build public and affordable housing the Government is relying on the private sector and landlords to resolve the housing emergency. It will not work.
“Under these proposals, most recipients of social protection will suffer real cuts in their living standards as inflation, including the carbon tax increase, erodes the value of their weekly rates.
“The Government’s carbon tax increase fails on two grounds. It is not sufficient to change behaviour, but it will impact negatively on the vast majority of low and average income groups. The increase in fuel allowance only affects one-in-three social protection recipients and does not benefit those in work. This budget will not promote either climate justice or Just Transition notwithstanding the commitment to provide €30 million for communities which depend on peat production in the Midlands.
“SIPTU members are particularly disappointed at the Government’s failure to address the crisis in childcare. Ireland has one of the highest levels of childcare fees in the EU, while early educators are among the lowest paid.”