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Income Distribution and Poverty

Social Justice Ireland makes the case for an increase in core social welfare rates of €9 per week for single people in Budget 2020 to ensure the welfare benchmark is maintained at the Pre-Budget Forum in Dublin Castle.

Social Justice Ireland wishes our newly elected MEPs every success.  This is a pivotal time for the future of the European Union and MEPs play a key role in ensuring that social and environmental sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of Europe's future.   To this end we have formulated Five Key Policy Asks for our MEPs in conjunction with Trocaire. They are:

  1. The Elimination of Poverty
  2. The Championing of Climate Justice
  3. Policy Coherence on the SDGs
  4. Delivery on the European Pillar of Social Rights
  5. Supporting an international treaty on Business and Human Rights

Living in poverty is a reality for one in five children in Ireland.  This means that around 230,000 children in Ireland are living in families with incomes below the poverty line.  This is one of the main findings from Poverty Focus 2019.  How long more can we afford to ignore these children and their living standards?  This issue can be addressed effectively.  Child poverty can be eliminated.

What are the latest data and trends on poverty in Ireland and why is life on a low income the norm for a large proportion of our society?  Social Justice Ireland’s annual Poverty Focus examines the nature and experience of poverty in Ireland and sets out a series of policy solutions. 

The headline social inclusion targets addressed in the Irish National Reform Programme are focussed on employment, education and ‘poverty and social exclusion’.  How is Ireland performing on the social inclusion aspects of our National Reform Programme and our Europe 2020 targets?

This report was compiled by Social Justice Ireland in light of the Europe 2020 Strategy and its high-level targets, and of Ireland’s National Reform Programme. It is the latest in a series that has tracked Ireland’s performance for many years.

Social Justice Ireland is in favour of the indexation of social welfare rates.  The correct and most appropriate measure against which to index social welfare rates is earnings.  Indexation to other measures such as inflation (or the Consumer Price Index) are inappropriate.

Our paper on Indexation and Social Welfare Rates outlines Social Justice Ireland’s position on indexation, makes proposals regarding maintaining adequate levels of social welfare and indexation, and it also reviews the process by which the basic social welfare payment became benchmarked to 30 per cent of Gross Average Industrial Earnings. 

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. 

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