8 May 2018

Budget locks in future spending cuts and leaves people on low incomes worse off

The St Vincent de Paul Society says this year’s Budget locks in future spending cuts and leaves people on the lowest incomes worse off.

“If you’re locked out of a job or in an insecure job, this Budget doesn’t even bring home the two-minute noodles,” said Dr John Falzon, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council.

Cuts to income tax and company taxes erode the progressive nature of our tax system and punch a massive hole in government revenue. These cuts will inevitably lead to more spending cuts to essential services, meaning more out-of-pocket expenses for low and middle-income earners.

“This is an irresponsible budget that will leave unemployed people, underemployed people, students and those struggling to pay high housing costs worse off,” said Dr Falzon.

“Critically, the Budget has failed to lift unemployment payments, nor is there any action to address homelessness and Australia’s housing affordability crisis.”

Modest cuts to income tax for low and middle-income earners will not offset rising costs of living and underinvestment in social and affordable housing, increased out-of-pocket expenses for medical services and aged care, and the lack of adequate and fairly funded education at all levels.

“Each of these failures leads to increases in out-of-pocket expenses which makes the struggle for survival just that much harder. For some the consequences will be homelessness and destitution. In a wealthy country such as ours we can do better than this,” said Dr John Falzon.

“Over the past four budgets the Government cut $15 billion from social security and community services, and billions more are in the pipeline. It is unconscionable to be pursing massive tax cuts while these spending cuts stand, and people on the lowest incomes continue to go without food or secure housing.”

“If you want to build a nation you’d start with a jobs plan, instead of a putting-the-boot-into-the-unemployed plan.

“You’d lift Newstart and other low payments for the people this government persists in tearing down, because you don’t build a nation up by tearing your people down.

“And you don’t reduce inequality by doling out tax cuts to corporations whilst promising a return to surplus that can only come on the back of cuts to expenditure that will hurt everyone bar the wealthy.”

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