This Government got this budget very wrong and badly let down hundreds of thousands of workers, families and small business owners. Sinn Féin would have done it differently and we set out how last Friday when we published our alternative budget ahead of the Government's budget. We would have built up greater capacity in our health services and, critically, we would have started to work to rebuild our country in a better, stronger and fairer way. Budget day saw no relief for people who saw their PUP cut. It saw no relief for renters and nothing delivered for families paying the highest childcare costs in Europe. In fact, for motorists who cannot afford to go green, we saw increased costs by means of the increased carbon tax the Government announced.
There was a much-trumpeted increase in the arts budget, but is it a once-off, a Covid contingency? If it is, then that is welcome, but that also means that it will evaporate this time next year and we will be back to a much-underfunded arts budget once again. The €50 million for the live events sector depends mainly on restrictions being lifted to allow live events to go ahead again and would mainly benefit the very large companies capable of carrying out large, socially distanced Covid-ready events. It is a welcome boost for those who work in that sector and who were facing going to the wall without some support. I am not denying that.
However, there is nothing in this budget to help the thousands of artists and live entertainment workers whose PUP remains cut and who are dependent on the original temporary wage subsidy scheme, TWSS, which was also cut. These are workers whose mortgage arrears are building, whose utility bills are piling up unpaid and who have no work and none likely in the near future. They are not allowed to work and the Government reduced the supports for them at that very time. What does that say? Many of these workers will find themselves even worse off than they were on Monday, possibly even cut off from the tax warehousing and Covid restrictions support scheme, CRSS, which were announced, putting them even more on the back foot. Clarity is needed for those workers and an emergency hardship fund needs to be established to ensure funding and supports get to where they are needed and needed most.
I leith na Gaeilge, ní bheadh mórán Gaeilgeoirí ag gearán faoi airgead breise a bheith caite ar an nGaeilge nó ar an nGaeltacht. Ní chóir go mbeadh an tAire agus an tAire Stáit ag maíomh as seo más rud é go bhfuil an méadú seo ceangailte díreach le Covid-19 agus muna gcuirfear leis an mbuiséad an bhliain seo chugainn. Tá go leor imris i gceist leis na figiúirí atá tugtha dúinn. Is dona liom an tslí ina gcaitheadh le Foras na Gaeilge arís i mbliana. Tá €1.7 milliún curtha ar fáil don Fhoras Teanga, ach níl a fhios againn cé mhéad den airgead sin a rachaidh go dtí an teanga sin darbh ainm Ultais. Sa deireadh thiar thall, ní bheidh ann do na príomheagrais Gaeilge ach pinginí i gcomparáid le roinnt de na heagrais eile. Ní bhfaighidh Údarás na Gaeltachta ach pinginí i gcomparáid le Fiontraíocht Éireann nó IDA Ireland. Ós rud é go bhfuil sé léirithe go minic ag lucht Údarás na Gaeltachta go bhfuil siad in ann poist a chruthú ar bheagán airgid, ba cheart go mbeadh i bhfad níos mó maoinithe ar fáil dóibh, go háirithe i gcomhthéacs Covid-19. Má tá géarchéim ann sa Ghaeilge agus sa Ghaeltacht, ba chóir don Rialtas i bhfad níos mó airgid agus i bhfad níos mó tosaíochta a thabhairt don teanga agus d'earnáil na Gaeilge ná mar atá leagtha amach sa bhuiséad seo.