Unemployment must become the Government’s top priority

29 Apr 2009

Today's Live Register stands at 388,600 - showing an increase of 94% in comparison to April 2008. The Standardised Unemployment Rate is now 11.4%. August 1996 is the last time the SUR was at this rate however there were less people on the Live Register - 281,300.

"The scale of the problem facing the country demands a much bigger and more focused response than we have seen to date," noted Bríd O'Brien, Head of Policy and Media. The INOU does not believe it is possible to address the crisis facing the public finances without also addressing the unemployment crisis. Rising unemployment impacts negatively on the tax take as less people are paying income tax and have less money to spend so VAT and other transaction taxes are down.

"Each crisis also presents an opportunity and now is the time to invest in education and training to ensure that when the upturn comes unemployed people are well positioned to access employment," continued Bríd.

In the meantime it is imperative that social welfare payments are maintained at their current rates otherwise Ireland will see poverty start to rise again. Indeed for long-term unemployed people living in Rent Supplement accommodation this has already happened as recent budget changes will result in an average loss of income of 5% in 2009.

Ireland has had to address the problem of unemployment before and there is a lot of expertise at local and national level that should be harnessed to produce innovative and constructive solutions. "It is crucial therefore that the High Level Group on the Labour Market established in late 2008 is re-convened as a matter of urgency," concluded Bríd.


The INOU's analysis of the Mini budget is available on our website www.inou.ie


For further information contact:
Bríd O'Brien, INOU Head of Policy and Media: (01) 856 0088 or 086 608 9641