Special Budget 2010 Edition Newsletter
Issued on December 1 2009
Budget 2010 gave little indication that the Government intends to
“actively advance the implementation of the National Disability Strategy (NDS) throughout the recession”,
despite the commitment made in the renewed Programme for Government 2009. What is clear is that while “Ireland may be turning the corner to recovery” people with disabilities are facing additional income and services cuts.
DFI recognised that this Budget would be difficult for everyone, however, we were clear from the outset that people with disabilities should not experience a disproportionate level of hardship compared to other vulnerable groups. This is reinforced by the fact that one in three people with disabilities are already at risk of poverty. The Government”s announcement to cut disabled people”s income by €8.30 (4.1%) per week is a direct attack on the most vulnerable who for no fault of their own are dependent on the State for an adequate income. This is in addition to the 2% cut already made to disability payments through the abolishment of the Christmas bonus this year. There has been a clear acknowledgement that people with disabilities experience extra everyday costs arising from living with a disability; however, this appears to have been completely forgotten about in framing Budget 2010.
DFI believe that people with disabilities are highly dependent on very necessary health and personal social services. Disability services funding of €171m allocated by the Oireachtas to the
HSE has not been delivered since 2007 and we are now very fearful that the same will happen again. Voluntary disability organisations are already struggling to maintain services and announcements made in this budget are of no comfort.
The Minister for Health and Children needs to give specific instructions to the HSE in the 2010 Service Plan, to honour Government commitments to people with disabilities and to protect disability services from the €450m in health service cuts. Minister Harney has already stated that “she has sought to bring costs into line with what the Department can afford, rather than reducing services” . This is also a matter for the Oireachtas to insist that this happens. DFI will continue to lobby against further cuts to our sector and keep our members informed of developments in the health area. Information on the announcements made in Budget 2010 across Health and other departments is summarised in this special edition newsletter.