[Sinn Fein]

5 December 2001

Jonathan O Brien Condemns Budget of Inequality

Cork Sinn Fein Councillor Jonathan O Brien described the 2002 budget as disingenuous and a recipe for increasing the social divide in Ireland. 

Jonathan O Brien said: ``This budget, aimed as it is at the next election, does little for the development of Ireland as a nation of equals. 

The modest proposals to remove some people from the tax net, and others from the higher tax net will be offset by the increase in government induced inflation. The increased costs arising from the sharp increase on fuel and the rise in VAT will wipe out any gain made by removing some people from the tax net. 

This budget is consistent with this government's previous budgets in its refusal to deal with the situation of the less well off in our society. We have

* A missed opportunity to widen the medical card eligibility

* Nothing for first time buyers but increased competition by tax relief for investors

* Minimum wage earners still paying tax.

* Nothing for those below the tax net

* Reduction of PRSI for employers but not for low paid

* Mean spirited rise for social welfare recipients and nothing for single parents

Despite his denials, Charlie McCreevy continues to implement a policy on behalf of a government which gives generously to the higher paid at the expense of the less well off. When times were good he gave to his friends, when the economy fell back the rest of us have had to tighten our belt.

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