New analysis of income inequality shows the effectiveness of Ireland’s social welfare system and other key policies in helping people and families, a Fine Gael TD said.
Fine Gael TD for Cork North Central, Colm Burke highlighted the analysis published on Friday in the Financial Times which shows that lower income households in Ireland have a standard of living that’s almost 63% higher than comparable households in the UK.
Deputy Burke said: “This analysis, based on data from EuroStat and the OECD, shows how effective our social welfare system and other key polices are in helping households. But it also shows how vital it is that Government, through Budget 2023, intensifies efforts to help with the cost-of-living increases.
“Whether it’s through core social welfare payments or the extra supports, such as the Fuel Allowance, the Household Benefits Package, medical and GP visit cards, and free travel, our social welfare system clearly helps households and ensures a higher standard of living.
“We’ve also introduced measures in recent years to help ensure that work pays, including the Working Family Payment, the National Childcare Scheme as well as regular increases in the minimum wage, the most recent of which – 80c to €11.30 per hour, a 7.6% increase – was approved during the week.
“The 2021 annual report from the Department of Social Protection, published last month, showed that €30.4bn was spent by the department on its schemes and plans to help individuals and families, including €8.8bn on Covid-19 related supports, such as the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.
“This obliterates Sinn Féin’s argument that Ireland’s social welfare system is ‘mediocre when compared to other counties,’ a claim it made in its recent submission to the Commission on Taxation and Welfare.
“And with a new pathway towards a living wage, new statutory sick leave, increased childcare supports and increase school-related assistance, such as the Back to School Allowance, I’m confident that through Budget 2023 the government will continue to support households at every stage of life,” concluded Deputy Burke.