A report released today by the ESRI has confirmed that people are better off in employment than out of work. In fact, only 6% of people would be better served on the dole than they would be in employment, which confirms that social welfare rates should not be cut at the budget, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea.
Deputy O’Dea commented: “Despite promising in the Programme for Government that social welfare rates would not be hit at any cost, Minister Burton refused to confirm to me this week if this would be another Government broken promise.
“Here we are, not even two years into Government and the Labour Party seem to be seriously considering reducing social welfare rates, which was a central plank of their pledge to the people in last year’s election.
“The research from the ESRI reinforces the point that people in receipt of social welfare payments are really struggling. In fact, the Government Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare has revealed that take-home pay for 90% of social welfare claimants has a Replacement Rate of less 70% compared to the national minimum wage. A Replacement Rate of more than 70%, would provide a greater disincentive to take up employment.
“The facts speak for themselves, social welfare recipients cannot afford to lose any more of their income. The poorest people in Ireland have been unfairly targeted time and time again by this Government.
“The ESRI said last year’s budget was the most regressive in four years. The Government seems intent on putting the highest burden on the poorest people in society again this year. These vulnerable people need to be protected and cutting the social welfare rate is not the answer.”