INOU NEC Press Statement
9 Dec 2011
At today's meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the INOU members raised serious concerns about aspects of Budget 2012 and the negative impact these will have on unemployed people. In particular the Executive is concerned about the negative impact on community organisations providing vital services and job opportunities to unemployed people, lone parents and disabled people of the €1,000 cut to the Community Employment Training and Materials Grant.
The NEC is critical of the change proposed to part-time payments to Job Seekers, whereby payment entitlement will be based on a 5 day rather than a 6 day week. The INOU has called repeatedly for the introduction of a more work friendly and flexible social welfare system that would allow people to take up part-time and piecemeal work. "This change will have the opposite effect as it make it harder for many unemployed people to take up part-time employment," said Ann Fergus, INOU Chairperson.
Though acknowledging that the Government did not cut the basic social welfare rate, the NEC is fully aware from local feedback of the cumulative and negative impact on many unemployed people's income of this Budget. For example, an unemployed person who was in receipt of the Smokeless Fuel Allowance will see their income drop by €245. An unemployed person in receipt of Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement will see their cost of living increase by €312. At the same time the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowances has been cut by 18% for post-primary school children and 25% for primary school children.
The NEC was also struck by the lack of any coherent vision on job creation. "Many of the measures announced by Minister Michael Noonan on Tuesday may support economic activity," said Ann, "But there is no guarantee that this will translate into jobs and certainly not on a scale Ireland urgently needs if we are to give unemployed people real hope."