[Sinn Fein]

1st December 1999

McCreevy widens `grand canyon' between rich and poor

Dublin Councillor Seán Crowe said Finance Minister McCreevy's Budget ``has failed the people most in need in our society and has failed to offer anything new to the now expected tokenistic offerings that have come from previous failed budgets''.

Councillor Crowe said:

``The issues most affecting the people of this country have only been paid lip service by this Budget. Child Benefit, Social Welfare, Childcare and Housing are the area's that were crying out for funding, and Mr McCreevy has not delivered. A derisory 2 increase in Child Benefit, not to be introduced until next September, and 4 increase in Social Welfare will only serve to widen the `grand canyon' between rich and poor in this country.

``Mr McCreevy will want the economic commentators to concentrate on any good points in the budget, but the clear fact remains that he has dealt a death blow to an awful lot of people, who had hopes like everyone else, that the approaching new Millennium would offer them a better deal.

``When the figures are analysed it will become much clearer who this budget was aimed at. For instance top income earners will be better off to the tune of at least 40 per week, while people relying on Social Welfare will get a miserly 4.

``This makes it clear that Ebeneezer McCreevy will be ever so selective in who he wishes a Happy Christmas this year.''

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