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Policy issues concerning Inequality


Social Justice Ireland 
welcomes the announcement that the Low Pay Commission has been give terms of reference to investigate how Ireland can move towards a living wage.  In principle, a Living Wage is intended to establish an hourly wage rate that should provide employees with enough income to achieve an agreed acceptable minimum standard of living.  


Social Justice Ireland
believes in the very important role that social welfare plays in addressing poverty.  Without the social welfare system just over 4 in every 10 people in the Irish population (41.4 per cent) would have been living in poverty in 2019.  In 2021, as we plan future budgetary priorities, it is important that adequate levels of social welfare be maintained to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated.

Before we had ever heard of Covid-19, Ireland faced a number of significant challenges. Among the biggest were those posed by inequality. Policymakers must acknowledge that a thriving economy is not a goal in itself but a means to social development and wellbeing for all. 

A new Report from Mercy Law Resource Centre calls for urgent action to address barriers to housing supports for minority groups.


The past fifty years has been a period of falling taxes on the rich in developed economies.  A report by the London School of Economics and Political Science has found that reducing taxes on the rich leads to higher income inequality and has little or no impact on economic growth or unemployment.  The report finds major tax cuts for the rich since the 1980s have increased income inequality without any offsetting gains in economic performance.   It concludes that governments seeking to restore public finances following the COVID-19 crisis should therefore not be concerned about the economic consequences of higher taxes on the rich.
 


Ireland is among the signatories of the recent Joint Declaration by the Ministers of the EPSCO Council ‘Overcoming poverty and social exclusion – mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on families – working together to develop prospects for strong children’. If Government is truly committed to the stated objectives of the joint declaration then significant resources and serious political and policy commitment to addressing child and family poverty are required.

As part of of the Irish Health Survey 2019 the CSO published a report on 'Persons with a Disability' which gives data and insight into the self-reported health staus of people with a disability in Ireland.  One quarter of people with a disability report their health status as Bad or Very Bad and 43% of persons with a disability report some form of depression.  These figures are well in excess of the State average where just 4 per cent report their health status as Bad or Very Bad and 14% report some form of depression.  


The CSO recently published 'Carers and Social Supports' as part of of the Irish Health Survey 2019 which gives data and insight into the lives of Carers in Ireland.  Almost one in eight people aged 15 and over provide care in Ireland, more women (14%) than men (11%) are carers, people in the age group 45-54 provide the most care, and, almost one in five carers report some form of depression.  


The CSO recently published the Irish Health Survey 2019.  Among the main findings of the survey are that a quarter of persons report having a long-lasting health condition, over a fifth (21%) of unemployed persons report some form of depression compared to 9% of employed people, 82% of females visited a GP in the previous 12 months compared to 68% of males and more than one in two people (56%) report they are overweight or obese. 


Social fairness and solidarity are more important than ever in the European Union if it is to meet the challenges of demographic ageing, climate change and digitalisation and deal with the aftermath of Covid-19.  This is according to the latest 'Employment and Social Developments in Europe Report ‘Fairness and Solidarity in the European Social Market Economy’. 

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