Monday 22 December 2014

Workers 'living on breadline'

Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 30/06/2014 | 02:30

MORE than one-in-10 workers is impoverished.

A new study reveals that 16pc of adults living below the breadline have jobs. It estimates that the numbers living in poverty increased by 120,000 since the start of the recession.

Almost one-in-five children lives in a household with an income below the poverty line.

Director of Social Justice Ireland, Dr Sean Healy, said the number of working poor shows the Government's "profound failure" to protect the vulnerable during the crisis.

Without social welfare payments, he said more than half of the population would be living in poverty.

"Such an underlying poverty rate suggests a deeply unequal distribution of income," he said.

He said there are more than 750,000 people living in poverty.

"If the Government wishes to address and close these income divides, future policy must prioritise those at the bottom of the income distribution."

He added that the Government could address part of the working poor problem immediately by making tax credits refundable.

Social Justice Ireland is also proposing a €5 increase in weekly social welfare payments in Budget 2015.

It also wants the introduction of a 'cost of disability allowance' to address the social exclusion and poverty of the disabled and an increase in allowances for asylum seekers.

Dr Healy said the top 10pc of households get 24pc cent of total disposable income, while the bottom 10pc get just 3pc.

In addition, he said weekly social assistance rates paid to single people are €14.21 below the poverty line.

He was speaking at the publication of Social Justice Ireland's latest policy document, 'Poverty and Income Distribution'.

Irish Independent

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