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Policy issues concerning Inequality

With 800,000 people in poverty, record numbers on healthcare waiting lists and more than 3,800 children homeless, Ireland is a profoundly unequal place. Inequality hurts the economy, leading to unstable economic growth and employment, higher debt, housing bubbles and increased homelessness. Substantial evidence has emerged in recent years to support the view that economies and societies perform better across a number of different metrics, from better health to lower crime rates, where there is less inequality.

Ireland now has the resources to ensure that inequality can be tackled effectively and the linked social injustices of poverty, waiting lists and homelessness can be addressed.  Priority should be given to reducing poverty, tackling the social housing crisis and reforming the healthcare system in both urban and rural Ireland.  Following on from our annual Sustainable Progress Index, Social Justice Ireland has published a 4-page brief on Ireland’s inability to get to grips with inequality.

Social Justice Ireland has partnered with Development Perspectives in support of their #SDGChallenge.  May is the month for SDG8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth.

The consultation on the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2018 to 2021 has been released by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection with a closing date of 16th March 2018.  This consultation is open to all, organisations and individuals, and while Social Justice Ireland encourages all to participate, we are concerned that the questions are framed in such a way as to allow Government to abdicate their responsibilities to the most vulnerable.

The Daft.ie Rental Report released today showed that private rents continue to rise in Ireland, with average rent nationally now standing at €1,227 and reaching a high of €1,995 in South County Dublin.
There were 85,799 households (235,947 people) on the social housing waiting list in June 2017, a decrease of 6% from September 2016, however over half of that decrease is attributable to transfers from Rent Supplement to the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).

A new study of 11 EU countries shows that Ireland has a significant and increasing gap in deprivation between vulnerable adults and other adults in society. The research, from the Economic and Social Research Institute, (published 31 January 2018), shows there is a significant and widening gap in the rate of persistent deprivation experienced by vulnerable adults, including lone parents and adults with a disability, and the rate experienced by other adults. Of the 11 EU countries studied, Ireland’s gap was the largest and increased the most during the study’s time frame of 2004-2015.

While the economy is doing well, it is crucial that policy-makers realise that many on lower incomes are not benefiting as they should. Almost 800,000 people in Ireland are living in poverty, a quarter of a million of whom are children. 1 million people in Ireland are experiencing deprivation. 105,000 people are working in a job with income so low they are living in poverty. Social Justice Ireland has a plan to fix this, and to build a fairer society for all.

31 per cent of working-age people with a disability are employed, which is less than half the rate of those without a disability, according to Social Justice Ireland’s latest Quarterly Employment Monitor.

Social Justice Ireland's recent book entitled Basic Income: Radical Utopia or Practical Solution? has received an award for original work in Irish Fiscal Policy from Ireland's Foundation for Fiscal Studies, Fiscal.ie.

Social Justice Ireland's work on developing a Universal Basic Income for Ireland was acknowledged by Noel Whelan in his op-ed article in The Irish Times on September 15, 2017.

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