Sectors in need of much-needed assistance
By Liz Farsaci
Ahead of the eagerly anticipated budget announcements, some sectors urged the government to provide much-needed assistance.
The food and hospitality sector has already called for more government support for its hardest hit businesses, warning that the industry is on the verge of survival.
Meanwhile, others working with children, the elderly, and people with disabilities urged the government to fund adequate social assistance for vulnerable groups.
The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has called for wage subsidies to be returned to previous levels of temporary wage subsidies, sales tax to be lowered, commercial rates to be abolished for one year, and cash subsidies increased.
Donall O’Keeffe, director of the LVA, said, “The government now has a massive responsibility to propose real and meaningful household support measures, particularly for the pub sector.”
Adrian Cummins, director of the Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI), said the sector is teetering “on the verge” of survival.
He said last week that the future of hospitality now depends entirely on the budget.
Mr. Cummins said, “Budget will be the determining factor in the future of the industry.”
The Irish Hotel Association has asked the government to increase the support rates for the employment wage subsidy system to the previous levels of the temporary wage subsidy system of EUR 350 / EUR 410 per week.
Meanwhile, Early Childhood Ireland (ECI) yesterday again urged (MON) to increase investment in childcare and insisted that the 2021 budget reduce the state treasury’s childcare spending to 0.5% of GDP and by 2023 must increase to 1% by 2025.
Frances Byrne, Director of Policy at Early Childhood Ireland, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has clearly shown how important our sector is, but also how underfunded and vulnerable it is.
“Substantially increased investment in early years and school-age childcare must be a sustainable focus for the government.
“The 2021 budget will be the first test of how well you meet this challenge.”
Active Retirement Ireland called for the 2021 budget to ensure that older people can lead healthy, independent lives and continue to actively participate in their local communities.
Maureen Kavanagh, CEO of Active Retirement Ireland, said: “Seeing older people not as a burden but as full and active citizens would be a truly transformative step for Irish society.
“The budget is an opportunity for government to ensure that older people remain healthier, more independent and can contribute to their communities longer.”
People with disabilities need more support as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.
Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI) said today’s budget (TUES) should allocate funds to allow people with disabilities to have access to medical services, personal assistance, employment in mental health services and everyday facilities as many are still cocooning.
Tom Scott, CEO of SBHI, said, “The government must ensure that priority is given to the most vulnerable people in society to meet their needs due to spina bifida and / or hydrocephalus.
“Precautions must be taken to ensure that all necessary support is appropriately implemented so that the already grave legacy of Covid-19 does not further isolate people with disabilities.”
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