October 15th: In an initial reaction to Budget 2014, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said that today’s Budget is likely to cost around 25,000 jobs while further delaying any hope of economic recovery for working people. This figure is based on the number of jobs likely to have been created in the absence of the budgetary adjustment, which will depress consumer demand and growth.
Mr Kelly was scathing about what he termed a ‘deeply cynical Budget’ which will impose further hardship on low income families and vulnerable groups such as pensioners while continuing to protect those at the top of the economic pyramid.
“Following Budget 2014, a total of €30 billion will have been sucked out of the economy over the past five years – or €6,600 for every man, woman and child in the country, further squashing any prospect of growth.
“Unite, along with the trade union movement as a whole, has long advocated a sustained, substantial and focused programme of investment in job creation.
“Any minimal additional investment that might come out of this Budget must be set against the fact that, between 2011 and 2014, €3.4 billion in investment has been permanently cut out of the economy.
“In terms of jobs, what we do know is that the effect of the Government’s decision to again reduce unemployment assistance for young adults will be to incentivise further emigration – thus robbing the country of a generation of talent.
“While government spinmasters have trumpeted the decision to extend GP cover to children under five – a decision which, on this Government’s past performance, may well not be implemented – the benefit to low and middle income earners will be outweighed by other measures. Following on from last year’s Budget, larger families are facing a further cut in Child Benefit. Prescription charges are set to rise yet again, and – as we have seen in recent weeks – existing medical cards are under threat.
“Unite is particularly concerned at the decision to reduce maternity benefit for many working mothers. This will not only affect the women concerned, with many losing over €800 – it also represents a further attack on our system of social insurance.
“Just whose recovery is this deeply cynical Budget designed to assist? It will cost jobs and impose further hardship on working people and vulnerable groups such as pensioners while continuing to protect those at the top of the economic pyramid”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.