Thursday, December 10, 2009

Budget 2010 - COMMUNITIES DOWN AT LEAST 10%

BY ALLEN MEAGHER

Some of the most severe recommendations in the McCarthy Report will not be implemented this year, but with a similar budget promised for next year and the year after, it's far from over for communities.

For now, commentators are talking about the cumulative effect of wide-ranging cuts to community supports on top of cuts to social welfare.

At the same time, there's
some good news, relatively speaking (see below).

Gross funding to the
Dept. of Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs is down 13% for 2010 which means:
  • Funding for the combined budgets of the Community Development Programme and Local Development and Social Inclusion Programme (due to be integrated) are cut by 10% (equalling a cut of €7.1 m).
  • Community Services Programme reduced by 9% (or by €4.65m)
  • RAPID cut by 24%
  • Drugs Initiative cut by 11%
  • Community and Voluntary Supports cut by 10%
  • Clar funding is down 53%
Also:
  • Funding to the Family Support Agency is cut by 9% (or €3.1m); the agency has survived for now.
  • There will be cuts of €25m to the overseas aid budget for 2010. This follows 2009's massive cut by 24% (€224m).
And the good news (relatively speaking):
  • Charities will benefit from the 0.5% reduction in the VAT rate.
  • Funding will continue to 21 volunteer centres and other volunteering initiatives.
  • "Employment levels will be maintained at existing levels in 450 community projects under the Community Services Programme (CSP) by requiring projects to generate additional resources from their operations."
  • "Increased funding for the EU co-funded Rural Development Programme for Ireland 2007-2013 (LEADER)."
  • "A revised Scheme of Community Support for Older People will be introduced early in 2010, which will provide security equipment for upwards of 9,000 older people."
  • "Capital funding of €33m is being provided for the Gaeltacht and Islands in 2010." Does this mean the likes of the airfield in Inisbofin will open in 2010? Time will tell.
At individual level, among the hardest-hit are: newly jobless young people who may now think harder about emigrating. In 2010 they will see their benefits cut by 25% (to €150 per week) if they're under 25 years of age, and by 50% (to €100 per week) if aged between 20 and 22 years.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Poor Can't Pay Campaign launches Video

Some of Ireland’s leading NGO’s and trade unions have joined forces to launch a new campaign called “The Poor Can’t Pay” which aims to mobilise active opposition to proposed cuts to basic social welfare payments or the minimum wage.

The Poor Can't Pay campaign said that people earning the minimum wage or living on social welfare did not cause Ireland's economic crisis and should not be forced to pay the price of the recession.

The campaign was launched as a joint initiative by the following NGO’s and trade unions: Age Action, Barnardos, CORI Justice, EAPN, Focus Ireland, INOU, Mandate, National Women’s Council of Ireland, SIPTU and SVP.