Package offers little for working people
Unite’s Senior Officer in the Republic of Ireland, Brendan Ogle, has said that Tuesday’s Budget was an “ideologically driven package” which offers little to working people and “further embeds the pattern of public crises to enrich private, vested interests”.
Speaking in Dublin, Mr Ogle condemned the continued focus on subsidies for private landlords as a means of addressing the housing emergency:
“Nearly 72,000 households have been assessed as being in housing need, and a further 38,000 are in receipt of the Housing Assistance Payment. That is approximately 110,000 households who require public support to meet their housing needs.
“On Tuesday, Minister Donohoe had an opportunity to announce a transformational investment in a public housing programme. Instead, the Government chose to continue subsidising private landlords rather than fundamentally address a human, national emergency.
“Instead of focusing on investment to repair the damage wrought by austerity and to future-proof and Brexit-proof our economy and society, the Government did what right-wing governments always do: introduce tax-cutting measures which will disproportionately benefit the better off, while failing to invest not only in infrastructural development, but also in those vital public services on which we all depend.
“While we welcome the abolition of the VAT giveaway for the hospitality sector, after years of campaigning by Unite and the trade union movement, we note that this highly profitable sector continues to be characterised by poverty pay and precarious working conditions.
“An extra few cent a week in tax cuts is of no benefit to the low-paid worker on a health waiting list or struggling to find affordable accommodation.
“It is time the Government put the needs of our people above their slavish following of an ideology that is only increasing economic division and human misery to further enrich private interests”, Mr Ogle concluded.