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Budget Choices


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.  

By the end of 2018 there were 6,252 applicants for International Protection living in Direct Provision centres across the State, with centres reaching almost full capacity by December 2018. Since 2002, occupancy has consistently been over 70 per cent of capacity in Ireland’s reception centres. Numerous reports have called for an end to the current system of Direct Provision in Ireland. This must begin with Budget 2021.


Investment in children and families is an essential investment in our social and human capital now and into the future.  Here we outline investment priorities for children and families for Budget 2021.

One of the objectives of Budget 2021 must be to support demand through Government capital expenditure.  In order to support investment and recovery, it is important that this capital spending is sustainable.  


Government should increase in core social welfare rates of €7 per week in Budget 2021 and set a three-year target for Government to reach the benchmark of 27.5 per cent of average earnings.  In the forthcoming Budget Government should also complete the equalisation of Jobseeker’s rates for young people under 26, introduce a cost of disability allowance and introduce a universal state pension.

People should be assured of the required treatment and healthcare in their times of illness and vulnerability. The standard of care available is dependent to a great degree on the resources made available, which in turn are dependent on the expectations of society. Covid-19 put an unprecedented strain on our healthcare system, however the systemic issues and overreliance on acute services which dominated the Irish healthcare infrastructure pre-Covid only served to exacerbate the problem.

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