‘If you are a farmer or live in rural Ireland, Budget 2021 is not for you’ – Tóibín

“If you are a farmer or live in rural Ireland, move along…Budget 2021 is not for you,” according to Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín.

Responding to Budget 2021, which was announced today (Tuesday, October 13), the Aontú leader said that in an “€18 billion budget, the government couldn’t find €10 for the pensions of the most vulnerable to the pandemic”.

He continued:

“Low income families have been most effected by this crisis and yet they have received very little.

If you are a pensioner, are on the PUP [Pandemic Unemployment Payment], a family renting a home, have an under-pressure mortgage, have children in childcare, if you are a farmer or live in regional or rural Ireland, move along…Budget 2021 is not for you.

“I am amazed that in an €18 billion budget, €10 could not be found for the pensions of the most vulnerable and most exposed to the pandemic. Changes to sick pay is an improvement, but Ireland is still an outlier in European terms.

“What we got is a few bob here and there for rural schemes, rural schemes that amount to nothing more than social welfare for rural Ireland. Enough to survive but never enough for a vibrant regional balance.”

Concerns over carbon tax

Meanwhile, Irish Rural Link has welcomed the additional funding announced as part of Budget 2021, but has raised concerns over the impact of the carbon tax increase on rural and low-income households.

The carbon tax will increase from midnight tonight (Tuesday, October 13) by €7.50/t as part of Budget 2021.

“While the increase in the Living Alone Allowance by €5 a week and the Fuel Allowance by €3.50 to €28 a week is welcome, we are concerned that other social welfare recipients who will not receive an increase in their weekly payment and are not eligible for the Fuel Allowance will be negatively impacted by the increase in carbon tax.

“Also, those on low incomes in rural areas dependent on their car to get to work will be negatively impacted by this increase.”