Fine Gael Dublin South Central, TD Catherine Byrne, has said that the proposed rise in the minimum wage will help remove welfare traps and is in line with Fine Gael’s plans to make work pay more than welfare. Deputy Byrne was speaking after the launch of the Low Pay Commission report which recommends increasing the minimum wage to €9.15 per hour.
“Working is the best way out of poverty and Fine Gael wants to do everything possible to remove welfare traps and encourage people on long terms jobseekers’ benefit back to work.
“Increasing the minimum wage to €9.15 is one way we can do this and I wholly support this recommendation of the Low Pay Commission, which was set up by the Government earlier this year.
This Government has a strong record on the minimum wage having restored it when we took office after it was cut by Fianna Fáil when they destroyed the economy.
“As well as examining the minimum wage, the Government is also reducing taxes on low and middle income families in a responsible sustainable way across a number of Budgets, beginning last October in Budget 2015. There will be similar measures again this year. By Budget 2016 we will have also removed over 500,000 low paid workers out of the USC net.
“Last month an ESRI report found that six out of ten people would actually double their income if they moved from the Jobseekers’ Allowance to a job. Eight out of ten could earn at least 40% more by finding employment. The report also notes however that welfare recipients with children have less of an incentive to work. That’s why we introduced the Back to Work Family Dividend last April that allowed parents returning to work from long term unemployment to keep their additional child benefits for two years.
“This Government is reforming the system to make work pay more than welfare to ensure that everyone has a chance to make a better life for themselves and their families.”