Independent Donegal South-West TD, Thomas Pringle, has called on the Government to end its attack on the vulnerable by increasing the tax take in order to stop making cuts to public services which so many people rely on.
Speaking on the matter in the Dail to the Taoiseach at Leaders’ Questions, he pointed out: “It seems the poor are becoming poorer while the rich just keep getting richer. In fact, the gap between the rich and poor in Ireland is widening, with disposable income for the least well-off falling by over 18%, while income has risen by over 4% for the most well-off. Additionally, the top 10% of the population receive almost 14 times more disposable income than the poorest 10%. There is something profoundly wrong in that.”
“It wasn’t so long ago that this Government was promising to break away from the old and begin a new politics. Reform, transparency and fairness were the talk of the day. We all know how that worked out. The extravagant pay rates for special advisers are constantly breaching the pay cap, cuts to social welfare payments and indirect taxes have ravaged the country and jobs are as sparse as they ever were, while more and more people are being forced to emigrate to make a life where a living can be made.
“We also have a situation where, as a result of the reduced rate of social welfare payments, young people who are made homeless are left trapped in emergency accommodation because they cannot receive the assistance they need to make a life for themselves. This could be easily resolved and addressing this would actually reduce the cost to the State. This is yet another group which is being failed by this Government as a result of its attack on the vulnerable,” he said.
“It’s clear from this that the Government are making very questionable decisions that result in such a lop-sided distribution of wealth, with so many people struggling just to make ends meet. We have the fourth lowest tax take as a percentage of GDP in the EU. Increasing this would do much to address the inequity we now face in our society. There is also a great need to equality proof the budget to assess the impact it would have on society’s most vulnerable, and ensure that these people are protected.
“Changing the ratio of spending cuts to tax increases in the next and subsequent budgets must be achieved. Being a poorer nation should not equate to it to being a more unequal one, but this seems to be how it’s panning out here,” stated Pringle.