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Budget creates ‘two-tier economy’

Billions of euros extra in support for businesses sat alongside cuts for workers on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, Labour’s Ged Nash said.

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Ged Nash said the Government has created a two-tier economy (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ged Nash said the Government has created a two-tier economy (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ged Nash said the Government has created a two-tier economy (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Government has created a two-tier economy and is just “papering over the cracks” caused by Covid-19, budget critics have said.

Billions of euros extra in support for businesses sat alongside cuts for workers on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, Labour’s Ged Nash said.

“In times of crisis it is the State we turn to,” he said. “We still have some way to go on ending our two-tier health system. But today I am just as concerned about our two-tier economy.”

Labour’s finance spokesperson said the government promised a shared future.

“But instead we have two Irelands here today. Billions of euros extra in supports for businesses. But cuts for workers on the PUP and no shame about it either.

“We were told there would be no cuts, but austerity is back for those who can least afford to carry it.”

This budget fails to learn the lessons from Covid and provide long-term investment in public servicesPaul Murphy TD

The leaders of the Social Democrats and People Before Profit said spending on intensive care units is far below what is required.

Roisin Shortall and Richard Boyd Barrett criticised the Government, saying it did not go far enough in allocating sufficient resources to ICUs in Irish hospitals as part of the four billion euro health spend.

Deputy Shortall said: “The bulk of that health spend will be Covid-related and will go to PPE and testing and tracing.

“A large part of the remainder of that will be capital spending, which is well needed but, there isn’t much spending on ICUs.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “ICU investment is still nowhere near what the HSE said was needed pre-pandemic.

“Not enough has gone in there. Not enough has gone into tracking and tracing, either.”

Paul Murphy TD said a “hike” in carbon tax represented “eco-austerity”.

He said: “Failure to restore PUP means more poverty and homelessness, especially for young people.

“This budget fails to learn the lessons from Covid and provide long-term investment in public services.”

Online Editors