Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Finance and the Government to radically review any intended budgetary policy decisions which will adversely impact on low to middle income families in light of the results contained in a survey carried out by the Irish League of Credit Unions.
Deputy McGrath said the survey is a blunt reminder that despite all the Government rhetoric the reality on the ground for most people is still one of enormous financial struggle:
“This survey showed that around 1.18 million adults have just €50 or less left at the end of the month after they had covered the main household expenses. This is out of a total of 3.45 million adults.
“It is an absolutely appalling statistic and reveals more clearly than any rose tinted Government statement that for the vast majority of people out there the so called recovery or emergence out of recession has yet to materialise in any meaningful way.
“These surveys which are issued by the credit unions are in fact a far more credible glimpse in to the true scale of the problems that many hundreds of thousands of families are facing and should serve as a massive wake up call to the Government concerning the implementation of further austerity policies.”
The survey has also found a third of households report spending less on food to ensure there is enough money to cover the cost of mortgages and loans and very disturbingly also reports that close to half a million adults have nothing at all left after providing for their day-to-day spending:
“These are truly awful figures and it must be said that a failure of the Government to take heed of them will only confirm people in the view that the very quality of their lives are being sacrificed at the altar of austerity
“There is broad agreement now among very many economists and indeed within the EU itself that the over reliance on austerity as a guiding economic policy is fast becoming entirely counter-productive.
“That reality is confirmed in this survey and yet it is a policy that this Fine Gael / Labour Government seem determined to press ahead with despite the obvious and real hardships it is creating for our citizens.
“The Irish people are being pushed to the brink and it is way past time that this Government sat up and took note of their deep concerns and not be forever trying to appear the EU role model for an economic policy that only succeeds while families fail,” said Deputy McGrath.