INOU Pre-Budget Submission Press Release

20 Jul 2017

Press Release: July 20th 2017

 

INOU Pre-Budget Submission

Today the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed is publishing its Pre-Budget Submission.

Tomorrow morning, John Stewart, INOU Coordinator, and Bríd O’Brien, INOU Head of Policy and Media will attend the Department of Employment and Social Protection’s Pre-Budget Forum in Dublin Castle.

In his speech to Dáil Eireann on the evening he was elected as Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar said “we seek to build a Republic of Opportunity in which every citizen gets a fair go and has the opportunity to succeed, in which every part of the country has a chance to share in our prosperity.”

This year’s National Economic Dialogue (NED) had as its theme “Sustainable and inclusive growth in the context of national and global challenges”. It is imperative that the concepts of sustainable and inclusive growth are carried through into Budget 2018, and that it really delivers for unemployed people, their families and their communities.

The INOU welcomed the commitment made by the Taoiseach in his address to NED to have improved poverty targets and to get the country back to pre-crisis levels. To that end increasing social welfare rates to ensure that they lift people out of poverty and support them to meet a minimum essential standard of living will be absolutely vital.

In the INOU E-Bulletin Issue 26, February 2017, there is an article entitled SILC 2015 and Unemployment which highlighted the disparity between the national poverty figures and those experienced by people who are unemployed. In 2015 the national at-risk-of-poverty rate was 16.9%; the deprivation rate was 25.5%; and the consistent poverty rate was 8.7%. But for people who are unemployed these figures were respectively: 43.5%; 45.5%; and 26.2%.

In Budget 2017 a welcome increase to Jobseekers and other working age payments was made: as these poverty indicators demonstrate much still needs to be done to address the social and economic exclusion facing so many unemployed people and others of working age.

 

So in Budget 2018 the INOU calls on the Government to:

  • Reinstate welfare payments to 2009 rates and abolish the age segregation introduced to Jobseekers Allowance in that Budget.
  • Benchmark all social welfare rates at a level which is sufficient to both lift people above the poverty line and provide them with a Minimum Essential Standard of Living.
  • Increase the top-up payment on employment programmes by €7.50 to better support participants costs of engagement.

 

To ensure unemployed people and others of working age have access to supportive employment services, good education and training, and decent employment the INOU also calls on the Government to:

  • Resource the provision of good career and employment guidance to support unemployed people to make informed choices, access appropriate education and training, leading to good quality employment in terms of job security and salary levels and in particular to ensure this is available to individuals and communities most disadvantaged in the labour market.
  • Support frontline staff to deliver a person-centred service with good guidance and information on the best options; and incorporate a strong equality and social inclusion focus to their work.
  • Facilitate access to employment programmes for all unemployed people, including people in receipt of no payment and ex-offenders.
  • Highlight the importance of signing-on for credits by delivering a complete information service, where the service is centred on the client, through welfare.ie and with poster displays and leaflets in the social welfare offices.
  • Plan for the employment and unemployment impacts of Brexit and in particular to identify the emerging and possible job losses, the potential alternative enterprises and jobs, and the education and training supports that are required to ensure unemployed people can gain access to these jobs, which must be decent and sustainable. 
  • Re-invest in community based organisations to support their work with people experiencing social exclusion and people who are distant from the labour market.

 

To read the full Pre-Budget Submission please click here