News & Media

Budget could have increased SW payments

5 January 2020

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Howlin says denial of cost of living increase for pensioners revealed as ‘mean’ in light of budget surplus increase in Exchequer Returns

Labour Party Leader, Brendan Howlin TD, said today that the latest Exchequer Return figures show a budget surplus twice what was predicted by the Government in October, showing that the denial of cost of living increases to people on pensions and other social welfare payments by Fine Gael was mean-fisted and unfair.

“Fine Gael have used the prospect of Brexit to deny pensioners and others cost of living increases for the first time in five years,” the Labour leader said. “Leo Varadkar is boasting about saving money but he has nothing to be proud of.  Our pensioners have been short-changed by Fine Gael at a time of plenty. The prospect of an immediate Brexit crisis has gone away now with the UK parliament likely to approve the withdrawal agreement.”

The Labour Leader also accused the Taoiseach of contradictory statements on the economy in recent weeks.

“The Taoiseach’s position is contradictory. He has championed tax cutting one minute but then lectured others about their spending plans the next.  He has been reined in previously by the Minister for Finance, who may need to do so again.

“It is not too late to undo the disservice to pensioners and others in Budget 2020.  The government could now rectify the problem. Instead, Leo Varadkar is proposing property tax cuts that will most benefit the wealthy, even though his Minister for Finance has warned that revenue from Corporation Tax cannot be guaranteed in future years. Now is not the time for cutting taxes. Leo Varadkar is playing reckless political games with the public finances for electoral gain, rather than focusing resources where they are most needed to reduce hardship and to boost demand in the economy.”