Budget 2020 was anything but progressive

 

Sir, – Your editorial on Budget 2020 ( October 11th) was baffling.

While you state that, “It goes without saying that it is important to ensure that the weakest and most vulnerable sections of society are protected against steep increases in carbon tax”, you make no attempt to establish whether or not this was actually done.

It was clear, and pointed out by the Social Democrats last Tuesday, that the Budget was regressive.

It failed to index-link pensions and other welfare payments on the one hand, and failed to mitigate the increase in carbon tax for low-income households on the other.

While there was a €2 increase in the fuel allowance, only one in five households benefit from this.

In its analysis of the budget last Friday, the ESRI pointed out that over half of those on the very lowest incomes don’t actually receive fuel allowance. It stated that the budget disproportionately impacts people in the lowest income groups, as well as widening the poverty gap and increasing the number of people at risk of poverty.

The Government has refused to say whether the Budget was poverty-proofed and it has yet to produce a new anti-poverty strategy which is now two years overdue.

We know that societies which are more equal are more successful, and I don’t believe the Irish public supports policies which result in higher rates of inequality and poverty in our country.

For the sake of the many people living on the breadline, as well as the cohesiveness of Irish society, the poorest should not be made to take the brunt of Brexit.

Fine Gael may not be concerned about this, but I would have thought that The Irish Times should be. – Yours, etc,

RÓISÍN

SHORTALL TD,

Co-leader,

Social Democrats,

Leinster House,

Dublin 2.