Welfare plea for those who ran and lost a business
THE self-employed have made an impassioned plea to TDs and senators for equal welfare supports to PAYE workers.
Various businessmen made their arguments to the Social Protection Committee yesterday, with one speaking of his feelings of worthlessness and the fact that the State treated him as such.
He pointed out that his children had to pay for his travel costs these days, and that his daughter couldn't get a grant for college because of his self-employed background.
It's a valid argument. Why shouldn't the self-employed who fall on hard times be entitled to the same supports as PAYE workers?
But this man was not simply struggling because his business felt the squeeze of the recession. He'd sold off his shops and gambled his wealth on shares. But his investments went belly up and now, aged in his 60s, he's left with nothing.
In fairness, he put his hands up and blamed nobody but himself, but he argued his family shouldn't lose out simply because he was self- employed.
Small business owners will argue that they are the backbone of the economy and a successful recovery goes hand in hand with a buoyant SME sector.
It's true that they've struggled as the recession squeezed everyone from the consumer to the supplier.
But making a case for better welfare supports by using a speculator who gambled and lost on shares will not wash with a recession-weary public.