The increased pressure on public finances as a result of Covid-19 will require increased public spending to maintain necessary supports for people and communities.
Reacting to the announcement that the Department of Social Welfare’s budget will be spent by June, Deputy Martin Browne said: “There must be a guarantee that Covid income supports will be continued for as long as necessary for people unable to return to work.”
“There will have to be a vote in the Dáil to approve this additional funding, and the government will have to guarantee that the Covid unemployment benefit will continue beyond June 8 and to the end of the year for whoever needs it,” he said.
“As the country reopens less people will need the payment but any cut to supports will cost more in lost consumer confidence than what will be saved on direct payments, as those who suffer due to the cuts will naturally spend less.”
“Beyond this there needs to be a clear commitment from all parties to oppose any cuts to essential services after the crisis, we have already seen the EU relax its fiscal rules to allow for governments to increase public spending in response to Covid-19 yet Fianna Fail and Fine Gael’s joint framework document has a commitment to still abide by these suspended rules.”
He continued: “This is a commitment to austerity and placing the burden of paying for the crisis on ordinary people, exactly what happened after the crash in 2008. Ordinary people cannot be made pay again, especially when the EU is providing more flexibility for member states than they did in 2008.”
“Leo Varadkar and Fine Gael might think it's unfair that some people are better off on €350 a week than when they were working, the majority of people think it's unfair that many working people have been struggling to get by for years now as wages have not kept up with rises to the cost of living,” he added.