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Austerity is not working!

[Dublin 14 August, 2013] National Women’s Council of Ireland sounds the alarm call over new budget and proposed further cuts to carers allowances, childcare and education.

Austerity is not working for women and children

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) calls on the government to protect women and children from further cuts in Budget 2014 and invest into crucial support, such as childcare.

Launching its Pre-Budget Submission 2014 today, Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,
“We have seen over the last Budgets that austerity is not working. Cuts to fundamental payments and services, such as child benefit, have had a detrimental impact in particular on women and children. Budget 2014 is an opportunity for the government to make some crucial investments in supports for struggling families in this country.”

She continued,
“We are calling on the government not to cut Child Benefit any further. What we need now to support families is a multi-annual investment into quality early childhood care and education. This should include a second free pre-school year and a package to train and upskill childcare staff. In addition, we need a designated budget to subsidise out of school hour’s childcare. While this would require significant financial resources, evidence from many other countries suggests that it will repay itself in terms of increased economic activity by parents, in particular women, and enhanced opportunities and outcomes for children.”

She added,
“Low paid workers, the majority of whom are women, are particularly vulnerable in the current labour market. Workers in retail and services, predominately women, have experienced significant cuts to their hours of work and due to the inflexibility of the social welfare system cannot access any welfare support for their reduced income. An important step would be to change the calculating of unemployment from days of work to hours of work.

She concluded,
“We are calling on the government to ensure that Budget 2014 does not hit the easy targets, including women and children, again. Before being adopted, all Budget measures must be checked for their potential impact on women and families.”

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