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Budget Statement 2013

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Snippet Contents:

Here we go again. This is the sixth successive austerity budget, the sixth time that Ministers have announced a vicious attack on the living standards of low and middle income people and their families. This Labour-Fine Gael Government shares the same perverse instincts as the last Fianna Fáil-led Administration and the same unshakable belief that punishing struggling families is somehow fair. It is not. Neither is it acceptable.
It is deeply insulting to the wellbeing, not to mention the intelligence, of citizens to parrot the rhetoric of fairness constantly while delivering policies that devastate their standard of living and their morale. It is a bad joke to speak the language of economic growth and jobs while introducing another contractionary budget that will further damage the domestic economy, lengthen the dole queues and send more of our people onto the emigration trail.
Despite the media hype and the supposed haggling at Cabinet, it turns out that, once again, Fine Gael has it largely its own way. Inequality on Fine Gael's watch comes as no surprise. It does not "do" social solidarity. That is not in its DNA. Fine Gael takes the view that the working poor or people struggling on welfare can be offered up to protect wealth and the wealthy.
Today, the surrender of the Labour Party to this agenda is final and complete. The party of James Connolly is now led by the nose, following a course that brings devastation to low and middle income workers and their families. The Labour Party now defends the very policies that so angered it when in opposition. It stands shoulder to shoulder with a party that it vowed to rein in as partners in government. If Labour's plan on entering government was, as it claimed, to contain and put manners on Fine Gael, its plan has failed spectacularly.
Labour has surely hit rock bottom when the only comfort that its Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Burton, can offer to pensioners who cannot afford the new tax on the family home is that they can defer payment until after they die.