INOU call for £14 increase in dole payments

15 Oct 2001

The Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed has called for a £14 increase in basic social welfare payments to be delivered in December's budget. The demand was made today at the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs pre Budget forum in Dublin.

The INOU demand is based on the report of a PPF working group on the benchmarking and indexation of social welfare payments, which is currently with the Cabinet. A majority recommendation in the report calls for social welfare payments to be linked to 27% of Gross Average Industrial Earnings (GAIE), and states that meeting this target is not an unreasonable expectation by Budget 2006. The report also states that revising the target upwards to 30% of GAIE should not be ruled out.

"If the Government were to meet the target this year, the basic social welfare rate would increase from £84 to £101. We want Government not only to accept the recommendation, but to make a substantial move towards hitting the target by increasing basic welfare rates from £84 to £98 per week." said Tony Monks, INOU General Secretary.

" This Budget is the current Governments last opportunity to fulfil the commitments they made in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness to the poorer sections of Irish society. In every one of their last four budgets, Government has ensured that those on decent incomes have benefited disproportionately and have increased the gap between the income of those on the dole and those in well paid employment." continued Mr Monks.

The INOU has highlighted that the projected fall in Budget surplus must not be used as an excuse to ignore the needs of families and individuals living in poverty, and estimate that the cost of increasing the basic social welfare rate by £14 would cost in the region of £700million.

" While we are conscious that the Irish economy may be faced with a short term recession, Government must not penalise either those currently unemployed or those whose jobs are now at risk by continuing to provide completely inadequate dole payments."

The Organisation made a series of recommendations to the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs today including: increasing child benefit from £67.50/£86.00 to £102.50/£126; raising the Qualified Adult payment to 70% of the full payment, bringing it to £68.60; standardising all Child Dependant Allowance rates; a substantial increase in Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance; and a re-introduction of the pay - related aspect of Unemployment Benefit.

For further information contact:
Tony Monks, General Secretary
01 856 0088 / 087 249 6066
Noeleen Hartigan, Welfare to Work Co Ordinator
01 856 0088 / 087 61 67 689