Cuts Threat to Phone and Electricity Allowances

30th September 2013, Monday
By TheCork.ie Reporter
news@TheCork.ie

Socialist Party Cork City Councillor Mick Barry this morning slammed
reports that Labour Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton is
considering abolition of the telephone allowance scheme and massive
cutbacks in the electricity and gas allowance scheme.

Yesterday’s SUNDAY TIMES reported that “the telephone allowance for
410,000 people was cut from 22.60e to 9.50e a month this year but
Burton is now considering its abolition.”

The report added: “Joan Burton….has warned Labour colleagues that
she may have to…..make cuts in the 180 million euro gas and
electricity allowance scheme to meet a 440 million euro savings target
for her department.”

Cllr Barry said this morning: “Fuel poverty affects hundreds of
thousands of Irish households and people die every winter as a result
of it. Cutting the gas and electricity allowance to the poorest
sections of society is a criminal policy in the light of these
realities.”

He added: “Abolishing the telephone allowance will only add to the
social isolation of tens of thousands of elderly people across the
country. What is needed is not the abolition of the scheme but the
reversal of last years’ cuts”.

Cllr Barry concluded by saying that the Irish state will achieve a
“primary surplus” next year (an excess of tax income over expenditure)
which means that all Budget cuts and tax hikes will merely serve to
enrich bondholders at the expense of ordinary people.

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