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Saturday 24 February 2018

Austerity policies favour the rich, claims Oxfam

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

AUSTERITY policies in Europe are benefiting the top tier of society while leaving millions of people bereft, a new study has found.

The report, drawn-up by aid agency Oxfam, warns that if Ireland and other European countries continue with the same policies it will mean between 15 to 25 million more people face poverty by 2025.

Oxfam Ireland CEO Jim Clarken has warned "history is repeating itself".

He said politicians are ignoring the effects stringent austerity programmes had on parts of Latin America, South East Asia and Africa in the 1980s and 1990s.

"The poor continued getting poorer even when growth made a comeback," he said.

Ahead of a EU's Finance Ministers' meeting, Mr Clarken called on politicians to instead consider diverting their effort towards kick-starting the economy, creating jobs and improving living standards.

The report points out the gap between rich and poor is widening in Ireland , with income inequality now four times the average across OECD countries. Almost one in 10 working households in Europe now live in poverty.

"The only people benefiting from austerity are the richest 10pc of Europeans who alone have seen their wealth rise," Mr Clarken said.

Irish Independent

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