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Income Distribution

This annex accompanies chapter 3 – Income and Income Distribution of Social Justice Matters 2019: a guide to a Fairer Irish society


At such an uncertain time, domestically and globally, the government needs to make a centralised commitment to lift our most vulnerable out of poverty and to prevent any more people from falling into poverty. 


Social Justice Ireland’s
annual Socio-Economic Review is entitled Social Justice Matters. This book is about charting a course to a better Ireland. At the foundation of that is the model of development we follow.

700,000 on healthcare waiting lists, 500,000 homes without broadband, over 11,000 people homeless – a result of Government policy failing to tackle causes - Social Justice Ireland publishes National Social Monitor Winter 2018.

In order to improve the wellbeing of everyone in society, at all stages of the life cycle, it is vital that our policies address the causes of problems rather than their symptoms only.  It is through this lens that Social Justice Ireland examines the ten policy areas in the National Social Monitor. 

17th of October is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.  In this era of increasing global wealth and economic growth it is important to highlight the large numbers of people living in poverty both here in Ireland and globally.  It is also a day to point to the policy options available that can improve the living conditions for all.  We can and should implement these policies without delay.

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.

Just two of the income taxation proposals currently under consideration for Budget 2019 would produce fair outcomes: an increase in the personal tax credit for everyone or a reduction in the 0.5% and 2% USC rates. The impact of most income tax proposals currently being considered by government would give far greater benefit to people earning higher incomes than to lower income employees.

Social Justice Ireland published Fairness and Changing Income Taxes: September 2018 on 18th September. The study assesses the fairness of seven possible income taxation options, each with a full-year cost of between €254m to €348m; equivalent to between 1.2% and 1.6% of the annual income taxation yield.

In this section of our National Social Monitor Autumn 2018 we look at income distribution patterns, the widening gap of income migration and poverty and propose a number of policy priorities to tackle the causes of these issues.

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