Mixed reaction to Budget 2014 measures
The measures announced in Budget 2014 have drawn a mixed reaction from various representative groups and organisations throughout the country.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul said it was very disappointed and concerned about the cuts to young peoples’ social welfare payments.
Spokesperson for the charity Brendan Hennessy said that reducing social welfare payments for people in their early 20s to €100 a week would result in more young people emigrating.
He also said the charity was concerned about the increase in prescription charges as it said people who were chronically sick would be targeted.
The Irish Heart Foundation criticised the “low” 10c tax increase on cigarettes and that there was no extra taxation on sugary drinks.
Head of Advocacy with the IHF Chris Macey said: “The Irish Heart Foundation is disappointed at the Government’s failure to act on its own expert advice to tackle the obesity crisis through extra taxation to reduce consumption of sugary drinks.
“This is an opportunity lost on two fronts by the Government – to reduce smoking and obesity rates, particularly among children.”
The Irish Cancer Society described the cigarette measure as “hugely disappointing”.
The Society’s Head of Advocacy and Communications, Kathleen O’Meara, said: “While any price increase is to be welcomed, the Government has missed another opportunity to take decisive action on the problem of smoking and has only increased the price of cigarettes by a nominal amount.”
Retail Excellence Ireland (REI), the country’s largest retail industry body, expressed disappointment at the increase in the pharmacy dispensing fee from €1.50 to €2.50.
REI Chief Executive David Fitzsimons said: “It is clear that the increase in the dispensing fee will lead GMS patients to forgo their prescribed drugs and as a result the health service will be negatively impacted in time.
“It is our view that this measure will lead one in five patients to forgo certain prescribed drugs which will have a significant and negative impact on patient health.”