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Sinn Féin recently published it’s policy paper “There is a Better Way”, a plan for the cuts which offered a few populist measures as window-dressing e.g. a marginal pay-cut for MLAs, reduced use of business consultants and slashing bonuses to hospital consultants. But aside from these few populist policies, the document is a 100% acceptance of the cuts agenda.
Ann Orr spoke to Laura who is married to a public sector worker who prior to the recent pay cuts earned €28,000 a year. They are both in their twenties and have a son who is nearly two years old.
What cuts have you been affected by over the last year?
"First, the pension levy came in. It was rolled back a bit for lower paid civil servants so we didn’t notice it as much as we had initially thought. Then the early childcare supplement got halved and we definitely noticed that.
"To be honest, one of the hardest things last year was just the media campaign against public servants, knowing that we are not privileged and quite poor and struggling and yet having to hear constant attacks in the media. After six months of that it starts to really wear you down.
"Then they came out on budget day saying that they would reduce child benefit but that families on income supplement would be protected. I knew instantly that they would find some loophole. They increased the limit of family income supplement but the change in the limit makes no difference to us. We still only get €20.”