Public sector strikes, the forces of law and order (potentially) rebelling, 12.5% of the labour force unemployed and a host of advocacy groups fighting their corner (see Mairead’s excellent collection of campaigns and pre-budget submissions). The 2010 Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure projects an almost €22 billion short-fall. Spending on health, children, community and rural affairs (and the Irish Secret Service!) are set to fall. Spending in welfare is projected to be up, but with more people relying on Ireland’s social support structures, there is less money to go around.
Irish papers have reported extensively on the supposed contents of Budget 2010. Among key sectors, here is a round-up of where Minister Lenihan‘s axe may fall:
- All social assistance welfare payments (except the Old Age Pension) set to be cut by around 4%;
- Those under 23 and on unemployment allowance will have their payments reduced by 20% (following a similar scheme for under 20’s in the April 2009 Supplementary Budget);
- Up to 10% to be axed from the universal child benefit (with those on social welfare to receive some monetary assistance to compensate for this);
- Rent allowance cuts;
- Prescription charges ( 50 cent) for those who have medical cards (which entitles a person to free access to health services);
(See here, here, here, here, here and here).
It remains to be seen what cuts (if any) will be made to independent state agencies such as the Irish Human Rights Commission, Equality Authority, Office of the Ombudsman, the Ombudsman for Children. Budget 2010 will also give us an insight as to the potential cuts in State funding to the voluntary and community sectors, and a whole host of other groups and organisations.
HRiI will be live blogging Budget 2010 from 3 p.m. on Wednesday, December 9th. On December 10th, HRiI will be hosting a mini-blog carnival from 2 p.m. onwards, assessing Budget 2010 from a human rights perspective.