Belfast Telegraph

Pledge on young disabled services

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has vowed young disabled people will still have access to the same services despite massive cuts to their allowance.

Disability payments have been slashed from 188 euro to 100 euro for 18-21-year-olds and from 188 euro to 144 euro for 22 to 24-year-olds.

But the Tanaiste said the intention was to standardise levels of social welfare payments across the board, bringing them in line with jobseeker's allowance.

"All the services that are available to people with disabilities, there are no cuts in these services," Mr Gilmore said. "There are reforms in which payments are being made."

He insisted that he believed any spending cuts were made in the fairest possible way. These cuts also included a complete cut in disability payments to 16 and 17-year-olds; also a payment which covers domiciliary care in the family home has been extended.

"Any reduction in payment or any cut is difficult," Mr Gilmore said. "It's not something any of us want to be doing. These are changes that have to be made."

The Tanaiste said he was aware the Budget would impact individuals and families.

"None of us want to be doing that," he told RTE Radio.

"That's not something I want to be doing, that's not something (Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform) Brendan Howlin wants to be doing. The reality of where we are in terms of our finances means we do have to reduce public expenditure and we have to do that in a fair way."

Mr Gilmore insisted that the Budget does not increase tax on workers, does not cut the basic rates of social welfare and child benefits, and maintains services for people with disabilities and children in schools.

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