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Social Infrastructure


Social fairness and solidarity are more important than ever in the European Union if it is to meet the challenges of demographic ageing, climate change and digitalisation and deal with the aftermath of Covid-19.  This is according to the latest 'Employment and Social Developments in Europe Report ‘Fairness and Solidarity in the European Social Market Economy’. 


Over ten years on from the financial crash, and after six years of economic growth, before the onset of Covid-19, across the European Union there were 16.8 million people unemployed, 6.65 million people long-term unemployed, and 86 million people living in poverty of whom 19 million were children.  This presents significant challenges as Europe grapples with the social and economic consequences of the current crisis.

Work and a job are not always the same thing.  Work is far more than just paid employment, and with this in mind it is time to develop policies that ensure all forms of work are supported, valued and recognised.

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.

Successive Governments have continued to look to private entities to deliver public services.  This has given rise to a regulatory emphasis on safeguarding competition rather than protecting the consumer, leaving households dependent on essential services at the mercy of market forces.   The recommendations in a recent OECD report provide salutary advice.

Budget Choices 2018 outlines Social Justice Ireland's fully costed expenditure and taxation proposals to deliver an economically sound and socially fair budget.

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. 

The focus of the Programme for Government and 32nd Dáil must be on investment in infrastructure and services.  Lack of investment in housing, health, childcare, rural broadband and education threatens economic growth and stability.   The latest research from Social Justice Ireland  in ‘Choices for Equity and Sustainability’ shows that a lack of investment is undermining Ireland’s economic and social stability. 

Tax cuts will not solve Ireland’s infrastructure problems, will not improve social services and will not deliver a fairer society.  Government, at the National Economic Dialogue, should take a long-term view and promote the common good by using all available resource to invest in Ireland’s social and physical infrastructure and services. This approach would lay the foundations for Ireland to deal with the many social, economic and demographic challenges it is currently facing and generate social and economic returns for the state.

In this detailed briefing document, Social Justice Ireland outlines a series of investment packages, and a corresponding series of tax reform proposals, for Budget 2016. 

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