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Budget Choices


Social Justice Ireland is proposing a €10 increase in core social welfare payments in Budget 2022. This would set Government on the correct path to benchmark social welfare rates to 27.5 per cent average weekly earnings over a two-year period, which was the standard set in 2007.  Budget 2021 was the second budget in a row which failed to deliver an increase to the minimum social welfare payment.  A repetition of this failure in Budget 2022 would leave those who are most vulnerable in a very difficult position and see them fall further behind.


Budget Choices 2022 contains detailed, fully-costed Budgetary packages across more than a dozen policy areas including health, housing, education, welfare, sustainability and more; it also contains a range of costed, revenue-raising proposals.


Despite the immediate uncertainty, Budget 2022 must embrace the need for new approaches to how we as a society prioritise choices. People, well-being, public services and a widespread and fair recovery must come first.


How we plan our finances, and what we choose to prioritise, post-Covid-19, will have profound implications for the future of our economy and society. To this end Social Justice Ireland proposed to the Select Committee on Budgetary Oversight that the priorities for Budget 2022 should be adequate social welfare rates and poverty reduction, just taxation, housing for all and tackling unemployment. 


In advance of the first budget from the current Government, it is important to remember three things: (i) the primary focus should be on increasing employment and delivering infrastructure and services, NOT on deficit reduction; (ii) a huge amount of borrowing will be needed in the next three years, and probably more again after that, and (iii) this borrowing is affordable and is the correct thing to do for the future of the economy and society.


Social welfare rates must be increased in Budget 2021.  The gap between those reliant on social welfare and those on average weekly earnings is growing.  Average earnings to the end of Q2 2020 increased by 6 per cent, whereas core social welfare rates have seen no increase since Budget 2019.  Social welfare rates must be increased in Budget 2021, in line with a movement towards 27.5 per cent of average weekly earnings in order to address this growing problem.  If not, then this Government will leave those who are most vulnerable behind. 

Click  here to check out our Budget Choices 2021 Policy Briefing, and watch the video of the launch seminar.

Budget 2021 should be socially progressive and promote wellbeing.  This is key to a fair and inclusive recovery as we learn to live and work in a Covid-19 world.  Budgets represent what a government values and how they intend to meet their objectives. For Budget 2021 to be socially progressive it must ensure that nobody is left behind.  While developing a thriving economy is essential, it cannot be delivered without simultaneously working to provide decent services and infrastructure, just taxation, good governance and sustainability.

Statistics produced by Safe Ireland indicate that 1,138 women and 1,667 children were accommodated in a refuge in 2018, yet Ireland continues to fail to meet our commitments under the Istanbul Convention.

Budget 2021 follows a series of budgets over recent years that have frequently given emphasis to providing reductions in income taxation. Here we compare the total annual value of these reductions between 2014 and 2020.  

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