Sunday, February 3, 2013

Cutting of ENPs will push more families into poverty - Kelly

The government's decision to cut the Exceptional Needs Payment Scheme by €5.5 million this year has been criticised by a Wexford Borough Councillor.  Cllr Anthony Kelly said the move which will include the ceasing of grants for communion and confirmation ceremonies is mistimed and will push more struggling families into down and out poverty.

Cllr Kelly said;

"Minister Burtons decision to go ahead with further cuts to the Exceptional Needs Payment Scheme this year is very disappointing and will impact harshly on families across Wexford.  The purpose of this scheme is to help applicants meet an essential once off payment which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income.  This benefit has been a safety net and provided many struggling families with a lifeline since the start of the recession.  The decision to further reduce it is mistimed."

"€5.5 million is to be cut from the Exceptional Needs Payment Scheme this year.  This will result in the ceasing of grant payments for communion, confirmation and other religious ceremonies.  Under pressure parents with children due to make their first communion or confirmation in the coming months will now be denied essential help."

"Minister Burton has instructed Community Welfare Officers to ensure that the supplementary welfare allowance scheme is responding to financial need and not occasions.  It seems that the Labour Minister has forgotten that despite the huge economic hardships faced by families in this recession, life goes on, and if the government are not prepared to help people then they will look elsewhere.  She also seems to be unaware that many people on who find themselves on social welfare now have never had to claim benefits before and are on the live register through no fault of their own.  This decision will drive more families into the arms of moneylenders."

"The government should reverse cuts to this essential scheme immediately.  In a week when new euro statistics reveal that the Irish people have paid a staggering 42% of the total cost of the European banking crisis, it seems obvious that our government should be concentrating on protecting the welfare of struggling Irish citizens instead of bailing out the elite."

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