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Public Policy

Ireland’s social contract is broken.  The legitimate expectations of citizens are not being met.  This is most obvious in areas such as housing and homelessness, a two-tier healthcare system, an ongoing failure to provide rural broadband and high levels of poverty and social exclusion, especially among children.  2017 is the first year of a new century for Ireland and now is the perfect opportunity to develop a new and radical social contract for Ireland’s second century. 

As Ireland faces into a very new international reality on taxation it is essential that tax policy priorities be adjusted to ensure three outcomes: (i) that the overall tax-take is increased appropriately, (ii) that the tax-base is broadened and (iii) that a fairer taxation system is developed.  Government should raise the overall tax take by three percentage points by 2021.  Social Justice Ireland estimates that a three percentage point increase in the overall tax take would provide an average yield of €9 billion per annum in additional taxation revenue.

The Sustainable Progress Index measures Ireland's progress on the SDG's over time compared to the other countries in the EU 15.  It measures progress on economy, society and the environment.  

Ireland is making poor progress when ranked against the other 14 countries in the EU-15.  The new Sustainable Progress Index, published  by Social Justice Ireland to mark UN World Social Justice Day, February 20, 2017, shows the scale of the challenge facing Ireland under the headings of economy, society and environment.

Over 100,000 people are currently working part-time hours, but would take full-time employment if they could find it.  This figure has increased by 25 per cent since 2008 and points to a worrying employment trend in Ireland.  This is one of the key findings from Social Justice Ireland's latest Employment Monitor. Some of this part-time work gives rise to increased dependency on state income supports.

This report is the third issue of Social Justice Ireland’s Employment Monitor; a quarterly output examining Ireland’s employment situation, including employment numbers, significant labour market trends, and other aspects of the macro-economy.  In this issue, the Employment Monitor focuses on underemployment, low pay, and income adequacy.

The executive summary of Social Justice Ireland's Socio-Economic Review 2017 'A New Social Contract for a New Century' is available below.

Some tax proposals currently being considered by Government should be rejected because they would give far greater benefit to people earning higher incomes than to lower income employees.  While there should be no net reduction in tax in Budget 2017, a study conducted by Social Justice Ireland, published today, shows that the impact of some proposals currently being considered would be profoundly unfair because they would favour only those with higher incomes. 

Despite low overall levels of taxation, and low effective income taxation rates, reductions in income taxation levels continue to be highlighted as a potential policy reform. Social Justice Ireland has undertaken this study to examine, from the perspective of fairness, various reform choices. As a minimum, the analysis highlights the distributive impact taxation policy choices can have and the potential policy has to pursue both fair and unfair outcomes.

There will be nearly 1 million people aged 65 and over by 2031 – an increase of 86.4 per cent.  Of these 136,000 will be aged 85 or over by 2031, an increase of 132.8 per cent.  Now is the time to plan Ireland’s investment in services and infrastructure. This is one of the key issues highlighted in the National Social Monitor 2016.

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