News Charlie Weston

Saturday 20 September 2014

We've long been aware of this welfare trap so it's time for Government to act

Published 11/06/2014 | 02:30

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Most people will know one – the dole pub, where the only person in work is the barman.

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Yet the place tends to be heaving every morning and every afternoon of every day.

Just how do these people afford to neck pints during the day, when working people are scrambling to pay their way?

For many working people, a reasonably priced bottle of wine on a Saturday night has long ago become a substitute for the expense of going to the pub.

The answer about the day-time drinkers is that they are on the dole but have children and get rent supplement, which means they get reasonably well looked after by the State.

And there is the little matter that our dole drinkers are spending money that should rightfully go to the children.

Jobs are still scarce, but even where there are jobs they pay little.

But the real problem is that jobless people are making a rational decision to reject work offers because they fear losing social welfare benefits.

One in three out-of-work people who have children are better off financially on the dole than taking up a job, according to the Economic and Social Research Institute.

The welfare trap is created by the fact that out-of-work parents are entitled to dole payments for each child.

But the real issue is rent supplement, which stops for those working more than 30 hours a week.

Then there is the huge expense of taking up a job, as we have some of the most expensive childcare costs in the world, on top of travel and other work-related expenses.

The problem is compounded by the fact that many of the jobs being offered to those on the dole are low-paid ones.

All of this has been pointed out now by the ESRI, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the St Vincent de Paul and the Citizens Information Board.

We await some action from the Government.

Irish Independent

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