[Sinn Fein]

12th June 2002

``Government must act on inflation figures''- Ó Caoláin

The Sinn Fein Dáil group leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described new inflation figures as an indictment of the government's handling of the Euro changeover and of the last Budget. He said:

``A new survey shows that there is an inflation rate of up to 14.6% on key consumer goods between July 2001 and June 2002. It has also been shown that the changeover to the Euro was used to artificially inflate prices. This has particularly hit low wage earners and those dependent on social welfare.

``This year's social welfare increases have been based on an underestimation of inflation. At the time of the passage of the Social Welfare Bill in the Dáil in February I pointed out that the Euro changeover had led to price rises, despite the denials of Government ministers. The latest survey confirms that prices have indeed risen steeply and the vast majority of consumers believe, based on their own experiences, that profiteering has led to prices being raised beyond normal inflation.

``The new government must act speedily to protect those on low pay and those dependent on social welfare. It should bring forward plans to take those on minimum wage out of the tax net and it needs to revise social welfare spending to provide for those worst hit by inflation''ENDS

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