COUNCILLOR Jim Long has called on his party’s senior politicians to “have a rethink” on the social welfare cuts introduced in the Budget.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan revealed in Budget 2013 that the period people are allowed to claim Job Seekers Benefit - which comes after paying PRSI - is to be cut to nine months.
Other measures include cuts to child benefit, a property tax, an abolition of the PRSI non-tax ceiling, a €50 cut in the back-to-school and footwear allowance, and rises in student fees.
The measures have prompted Cllr Long to criticise his own party for not going after developers and bankers who “should be charged with treason for their role in which this country was ruined”.
“Mothers and housewives are very well placed in management of very difficult decisions on an everyday bases, they are listeners, educators, advisers, councillors, supporters in the fabric of our society, their knowledge of how income is spread in keeping sustainable balanced life cannot be measured, but is very often ignored.”
Labour councillor Joe Leddin said the government should have cut the wages of Dail politicians, rather than just putting a control on expenses.
He also expressed his disappointment over the fact a third rate of tax for the “super-wealthy” was not introduced, or an increased rate of the universal social charge.
But he added: “There has been a wealth of additional taxes targeted at the more affluent in society in terms of capping taxable allowances of pensions, capital gains tax, but I can understand it might go over people’s head. But they have been introduced, and they will have an impact in terms of the wealthier paying more.”
As for child benefit, he said this could have been means tested, because “there are people in this country who simply do not need money and are putting it towards a holiday in the sun.”
Sinn Fein councillor Maurice Quinlivan said the cut in the Respite Care grant is “particularly despicable, mean and unnecessary.”
Carers protect and care for the most vulnerable in society, in some cases children with severe disabilities. For government to hit families of children with disabilities with the double whammy of cuts to Child Benefit and cuts to the Respite Care Grant makes a mockery of the recent Children’s Referendum,” he said.
He added: Labour protected the wealthy and no amount of spin will change that.”