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Press Statement by David Stanton TD



dstdPress Statement by David Stanton TD Disability Spokesman

Cuts to disability, blind & carers’ payments appalling – Stanton

Fine Gael Disability Spokesman David Stanton TD has described cuts to social welfare payments for people with disabilities, blind persons and carers as ‘appalling’.

Deputy Stanton’s comments were made this week during a Private Members’ Motion put forward by Fine Gael calling on the Government to reverse Budget cuts to these social welfare payments.

“With these cuts, the Government has made a clear decision to target the most vulnerable.  Cuts to disability allowance, blind pension and carers’ payments will have a very real impact on the quality of life of recipients. Some 55% of people who are at risk of poverty live in households headed by a person who is outside the labour force, that is, a person in a caring role, a person suffering from a disability or an older person.

“The risk of poverty for people with disabilities is 37% higher than the rest of the population.  This is primarily due to the extra costs many people with disabilities face in relation to heating, transport and access to employment and training. Instead of allocating these people an additional payment to recognise this, as suggested by the National Disability Authority, the Government has decided instead to reduce their level of payment. It is sickening.

“People with disabilities and carers have been singled out by Fianna Fáil and the Greens. Major elements of the National Disability Strategy; the Disability Act and Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act have been postponed. The Personal Advocacy Service, promised for many years and which is pivotal for people with disabilities in accessing services, will now not go ahead.

“The needs of carers have also been consistently ignored. The development of the National Carers’ Strategy was postponed in March this year. Young carers in particular are being ignored by the Government, who provide no recognition or support, neither moral nor financial, for their caring roles.

“Services to people with disabilities have already been reduced due to HSE funding cuts to disability organisations and cuts to the disability multi-annual funding programme. Now people with disabilities, blind people and carers are seeing their personal incomes reduced by cuts to the only source of income they have, their social welfare payments. I’m appalled by it.”

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