£8 / €10.10 dole increase denounced as ‘disgraceful’ by the Organisation of the Unemployed

5 Dec 2001

The £8.00 dole increase has been denounced as a disgrace by the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed today."The Government has ignored the majority recommendation of the PPF working group on welfare rates, and has run the risk of coming out of the current economic downturn with an even bigger poverty gap.” said Noeleen Hartigan, Welfare to Work Co- Ordinator.

"The Government has obviously chosen to ignore the majority recommendation of the PPF Working Group on the benchmarking of social welfare payments, which stated that welfare should be linked to 27% of Gross Average Industrial Earnings.

“They have decided to take a pick and choose attitude to social partnership, adopting the language of social inclusion but failing to deliver on any meaningful actions.

“Instead of ensuring that the 140,000 currently on the Live Register and the thousands more that will join them in the next few months have a decent income, they have run the risk of yet again widening the gap between the rich and the poor. The longer someone is living in poverty, the less likely they are to be able to get out of that situation. Once the current downturn is over people left to struggle on inadequate welfare payments during the slump will be struggling to keep their family’s bills in order, not training up for new jobs.”

“ Everybody who is concerned with poverty in Ireland must now make the indexation of social welfare payments to wages a General Election issue.”

The INOU also criticised the Government for not publishing the revised National Anti Poverty Strategy in advance of the Budget. The Strategy was due to be published in October with a view to influencing Budget 2002. They also criticised the lack of any new up- skilling programme for vulnerable low skilled workers.

The INOU stated that the Government has failed unemployed people on five key counts in this budget

1.A family with one child living on social welfare received an increase of merely £16 / €20.32. Whereas a family on 40,000 will be £59.85 / €70 a week better off.

2.The Government continues to ignore children in poor households. While the commitments on Child Benefit - which goes to all families - were met, Child Dependant Allowance, which is targeted at children in poor households remains at it’s 1996 level of £13.20 / €16.76 a week.



3.The rate of payment for Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance for children under the age of 12 remains a paltry £63 / €80, while the increase for children over 12 to £94.51 / €120.00 will make no significant difference for families living in poverty.

4.There has been no increase in the £250 income threshold for supplementary welfare allowances, which means that thousands of low-income workers are losing out on essential rent supplement.


5.The Government failed to take all minimum wage earners out of the tax net. A married person on £10,000 will be £4 / €5.08 a week, whereas a married person on £40,00 will be 59.85 / €76 a week better off.


ENDS

For further information contact:

Noeleen Hartigan, Welfare to Work Co-ordinator 087 61 67 689