INOU response to first phase of the Budget

5 Dec 2011

The INOU welcomes the decision to maintain the basic rate of social welfare payments announced in today's budget speech from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The maintenance of the basic rate was a key INOU priority for the budget.
We also welcome an announcement of funding for the Labour Market Activation fund and we look forward to hearing the details of the Pathway to Work policy. However, the INOU is concerned that the scale of the Government's response today falls well short of what is required. The Government have missed an opportunity to invest in unemployed people's future.
The INOU is concerned that the announcement in relation to part-time payments to Job Seekers, whereby payment entitlement will be based on a 5 day rather than a 6 day week, will act as a disincentive for many unemployed people to take up part-time employment. This decision will not facilitate unemployed people in moving from welfare to work said John Stewart, INOU Co-ordinator.
The INOU is also concerned that, the increased €6 per week contribution for people in receipt of Rent and Mortgage Interest Supplement; the 6 week reduction in the number of weeks that the Fuel Allowance is paid, the reduction of €200 in the grant for people on the Back to Education Allowance and the reductions in Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowances, will all make it more difficult for many people.
The INOU is also worried about the impact the reduction in the Community Employment materials and training grant will have on Community Organisations delivering this Scheme.