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Friday 29 August 2014

Seven out of 10 fear inability to pay bills: poll

Overwhelming majority believes nation will be mired in downturn for at least two more years

DANIEL McCONNELL Chief Reporter

Published 20/02/2011 | 05:00

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NINE out of 10 adults expect the country to languish in recession for at least another two years, the latest Sunday Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne poll reveals.

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With the country being in the fourth year of domestic economic decline, 90 per cent of those polled have no confidence in the country emerging from recession before 2013, with three out of every four saying it could be at least three years before the country returns to growth.

Those aged over 50, particularly those of pension age, are the most pessimistic about the country's financial position, a view also prevalent among those who said they would vote for independent candidates this Friday.

The poll shows that people are fearful that this year will see further attacks on their living standards, and they are furiously angry at those who caused this disaster.

Our poll reveals that an overwhelming majority fear they will lose their jobs and they worry bills won't be paid.

Most of all, they worry that, as a result of the actions of bankers, greedy developers and incompetent politicians, their standard of living will fall.

Despite some signs of growth returning to the economy, particularly on the export side, the greatest concern of those polled was the thought of having to reduce their standard of living.

More than three out of every four respondents said their greatest fear was that their standard of living would fall further during 2011, as a result of pending austerity measures.

Most fearful are young professionals, or the negative equity generation (25-34 year olds), already trapped in an economic quagmire. Fears were also very high among those aged between 35-50, and women are more fearful than men on this issue.

Some 68 per cent of those polled said they feared their inability to even meet their day-to-day household bills, with the 35-50 age bracket the most worried about this.

Contrary to Finance Minister Brian Lenihan's assertion that the worst is over, two out of every five adults fear they will lose their job this year.

In a finding which is even more stark, 27 per cent of those polled said they feared they could lose their home by the end of this year, again with the negative equity generation the most worried.

Such sentiments are behind the real lack of public patience with the continuation of government policies such as the Croke Park Agreement: 69 per cent of those polled said in light of the current economic climate, the policy of guaranteeing pay and conditions for public sector workers until 2014 was no longer practical, reasonable or sensible.

Those who felt most strongly about the need to revisit the Croke Park deal were working men under 50 and the recently unemployed, who are bearing the brunt of the recession and see such feather-nesting of public servants as unjustifiable.

Given such feelings, it is of little surprise that more than half of people are in favour of compulsory redundancies in the public sector, with Fine Gael voters most in favour of the lay-offs -- 54 per cent of those polled expressed support for forced lay-offs as part of a major reform of the public service between now and 2014.

In a clear expression of anti- EU sentiment, 51 per cent said they want the terms of the IMF/EU/ECB deal renegotiated and a further 29 per cent want to inflict some form of losses on senior bank bondholders.

Ultimately, this poll reveals that people are ready for their medicine; all we need is a government which is willing and able to deliver it . . . quickly.

Sunday Independent

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