Galway families on low or fixed incomes have been failed by the Government and Fianna Fáil in Budget 2020 with no increases to either the weekly social welfare rates or the minimum wage.
This is the view of Labour Galway City West councillor Niall McNelis, who was speaking following Finance Minister, Paschal Donohue's, announcement of the Budget on Tuesday.
Cllr McNelis was critical of the failure to increase the core social welfare rates, especially as those on fixed incomes facing increased living costs in 2020. He was also disappointed that there would be no increase in the minimum wage. “The Low Pay Commission recommended an increase in the minimum wage to €10.10 an hour from €9.80," he said, "but the Minister failed to announce when it will be implemented."
It was leaked this week that the increase will be delayed until March. Cllr McNelis said it was "unacceptable" that those on the lowest pay must wait for a modest inflation-proofed rise in their pay.
“Inflation of 1.5 per cent is expected next year but if you are a carer, a pensioner couple, or someone with disabilities you will have to live on less in 2020," he said. "In the real world this is a cut in all but name. This represents a slap in the face for the most vulnerable in society."
Cllr McNelis also questioned the Government's assertion that Budget 2020 will protect the State from a crash out Brexit at the end of October. “How can Fine Gael describe this as a Brexit Budget," he asked, "when those whose living standards will be most impacted by a no-deal Brexit are left behind?"