Monday 5 December 2016

Deprivation trebles among the middle classes, ESRI finds

Laura Larkin

Published 17/11/2016 | 02:30

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said ‘a lot has changed’ since the recession. Photo: Tom Burke
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said ‘a lot has changed’ since the recession. Photo: Tom Burke

Deprivation among the middle classes trebled during the recession.

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New research from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) examined the 10-year period between 2004 and 2013.

It looked at deprivation levels, which were falling ahead of the recession, and which spiked in the wake of the crash.

Deprivation refers to an inability to afford a range of basics such as food, clothing or home heating.

All social classes suffered from a rise in deprivation during the recession - but it trebled to 14pc of the professional/managerial class by 2013 when compared with the boom years.

Deprivation in the unskilled manual class also increased, from 29pc during the boom to 47pc in 2013.

Despite the increase in deprivation levels among the middle class, they scored well on quality of life measures in 2013.

The research found that 10pc of the professional class experienced quality of life issues such as financial strain, poor health, mental distress, housing quality problems and crowded accommodation.

However, lone parents and families with an adult with disabilities suffered the highest jump in deprivation levels. Those in the most socially disadvantaged class (the manual and unskilled workers) were five times more likely to have multiple quality of life issues.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar was keen to point out that "a lot has changed" in Ireland when he launched the report yesterday.

Fianna Fáil said the research showed the need for social welfare reform for lone parents,

"Lone parents need a social welfare system that reflects the fact that they are parenting alone and supports flexible working arrangements," said its social protection spokesman Willie O'Dea.

Irish Independent

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