Time for Government to abandon failed water charges project, says Jimmy Kelly
October 16th: Many workers with disabilities and those caring for a disabled child will fall into the new poverty trap created by Budget 2015, according to trade union Unite. The union was commenting on the fact that workers claiming credits such Incapacitated Child Tax Credit (for children with a permanent disability) may now have to earn even more before they can qualify for the water tax credit announced on Budget Day.
Commenting, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said:
“The Government’s panicked attempt to ameliorate the impact of water charges following last Saturday’s Right2Water demonstration has simply created new poverty traps for some of the most vulnerable workers in our society.
“We already know that low-paid and precarious workers fall through the cracks of the government’s response – those who do not earn enough to qualify for the water tax credit, and temporary workers, such as construction workers relying on short stints of employment, who will be excluded from the Household Benefits Package extension.
“Unite’s research shows that another group of vulnerable workers may also fall into this new poverty trap. In a new twist, some disabled workers or workers with a disabled child are put at a greater disadvantage. They will have to earn even more than other workers before they can access the water tax credit. Tax credits for many workers with disabilities, or parents of a disabled child, raise the income tax threshold, with the result (for example) that a working couple with a disabled child will have to earn more than €40,000 to access the water tax credit. Many households with disabled workers, or with disabled children, may be caught in this water charges trap.
“In Wednesday’s Budget, the Government attempted to stem the tide of public anger at water charges with a sticking plaster response that has simply created new poverty traps. Now that the consequences of that package have been pointed out to them, they are scurrying around to find even more new plasters to be applied in the forthcoming Finance and Social Welfare Bills.
“The time has come for the Government to throw up its hands in defeat and accept that no amount of sticking plasters will render their water charges policy fit for purpose. The water tax cannot be revived or sustained, it is dead and it needs to be buried. Unite will continue working to ensure it is abolished”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.