Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described Government plans to recoup utilities debt via attachment orders to wages and welfare payments as a brutalising and despicable tactic. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Cabinet confirmed it is to press ahead with its so called ‘compliance regime’ of deducting debt from peoples incomes:
“We already know that at least 57% of people have some form of personal debt – with €1,000 euro the mid-point owed on overdrafts – and €1,400 on credit cards.
This is to say nothing of the toxic levels of mortgage debt which is crippling families. Instead of putting in place effective debt resolution processes which actually work, this Government has shown remarkable efficiency in creating another level of financial stress for households.
Such efficiency stands in clear contrast to the Government’s bloated rhetoric and delaying tactics when it comes to getting tough with the banks. It would also appear to sanction a disturbing right to the intrusion of privacy.
What is to stop the utilities companies taking full advantage of such measures in an effort to tighten the financial noose?
Surely the Government has seen that when such institutions are given official license to pursue people for debt they will do so without regard for genuine circumstances or inability to pay?
The Taoiseach’s assurances about the distinction between inability and unwilling to pay for ones debts are therefore without a shred of credibility,” concluded Deputy McGrath.