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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

The "What's Left" income survey commissioned by the Irish League of Credit Unions was published today. It shows that almost 500,000 people have no money left at the end of the month after paying essential household bills. The study also shows that people are cutting the amount of money they spend on food simply to pay their utility bills, the mortgage or even just to get through each day. It also states that 1.8 million adults have just €50 or less to live on a month after all the bills are paid. That means that almost 2 million adults are surviving on less than €50 disposable income a month. That highlights the failure of the austerity policies. It is no wonder we have empty shops in our high streets, towns and cities. People simply do not have the money to spend. The budget presents an opportunity to move away from the austerity policies in place.
On a number of occasions, Senators from all sides of the House have asked for proper pre-budget debate so that all the alternatives can be discussed, but again that has not taken place this year. The budget is only a couple of weeks away but I imagine that the Minister has signed off on most of the key proposals, so there is no participatory element, even from those who are elected, never mind all the organisations that are making representations to the Minister. It is a lost opportunity. I therefore appeal to the Leader to ensure that the relevant Ministers come before this House so that we can discuss the income survey and all the alternative proposals made by political parties and organisations.