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Poverty


Social Justice Ireland’s report ‘Ireland and the Europe 2020 Strategy - A review of the social inclusion aspects of Ireland’s National Reform Programme’ has found that overall, current trends in Irish public policy are running counter to the promotion of ‘inclusive growth,’ which is one of the three key priorities which underlie the Europe 2020 Strategy. 
 


‘Social Justice Matters Policy Brief’ is a series designed to provide independent and in-depth analysis on important social policy issues and to present policy options that should be prioritised in the coming years.  In this issue we look at the impact of Covid-19 on education at primary level and second level in Ireland.   


The issue of child poverty is again prominent in the European Commission agenda, with the publication of the Council Recommendation for Establishing a European Child Guarantee. In order to be successful, increased political focus is required and children must be at the heart of post-Covid recovery plans.  Increased European and national funding is also a prerequisite for success. 

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) announced that it will lift the ban on disconnections of gas and electricity domestic customers for non-payment of an account from 1st June 2021, leaving many households with large arrears vulnerable. Ensuring homes are more energy efficient will go some way to ensuring lower costs in the future.


Over the past few years Social Justice Ireland has developed its ability to track the distributive impact of annual Budgets on households across Irish society. Our analysis tracks changes from year to year (pre and post each Budget) and across a number of recent years.  As different policy priorities can be articulated for each Budget, it is useful to bring together the cumulative effect of policy changes on various household types.


Ireland is among the signatories of the recent Joint Declaration by the Ministers of the EPSCO Council ‘Overcoming poverty and social exclusion – mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on families – working together to develop prospects for strong children’. If Government is truly committed to the stated objectives of the joint declaration then significant resources and serious political and policy commitment to addressing child and family poverty are required.

A poverty premium is the extra cost that low income households face when paying for the same goods, services and amenities as wealthier households. A Report commissioned by the U.K. charities Fair by Design and Turn2us, undertaken by the University of Bristol, and published in November 2020 found that low income households paid an extra £478 a year in poverty premiums in 2019.

The intergenerational reach of poverty and disadvantage is the topic of a recent release from the CSO (16th December 2020). This release found that those who had experienced financial or educational disadvantage in their teens (that is, having grown up in disadvantaged households) were more likely to be at risk of poverty or experiencing enforced deprivation than their wealthier peers.

'Building a New Social Contract – Policy Recommendations’ contains more than eighty specific policy recommendations that would go a considerable direction towards a new social contract to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of everyone and ensure that a no-one is left behind as our economy and society recovers from the impact of Covid-19.

The European Court of Auditors has just published a special report on child poverty in the EU entitled 'Combating child poverty – Better targeting of Commission support required'.  The report finds that child poverty remains a serious issue in the EU, and unfortunately, child poverty is likely to become even more prevalent in the aftermath of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.  The report recommends that the European Commission target and monitor investment in tackling child poverty, particularly in the period of the new budget period 2021-2027.

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