Helping to manage tight budgets

Sinn Féin Cllr. Gerry McMonagle said schools that require sensible and low-cost uniforms can make it easier for parents to handle back-to-school costs.

Sinn Féin Cllr. Gerry McMonagle said schools that require sensible and low-cost uniforms can make it easier for parents to handle back-to-school costs.

Cllr. McMonagle also said utilities should promote pay-as-you-go meters and the top-ups that feed them, giving customers more control over their spending.

The councillor said that reports about austerity often talk about the billions of euros involved, and the ordinary person would have difficulty associating themselves with sums of that size. However, in recent years as people struggle to manage personal debt and other charges, austerity is hitting home, he said. Cars are being repossessed, he said.

“This is what austerity meant,” Cllr. McMonagle said. “It is in every man and woman’s backyard now,”

He said households in the past would have had a safety net of “a few pound”, but “the safety nets have been stripped bare.”