Ireland is no country for low income families – Tóibín
Commenting on the latest CSO analysis, Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín has stated that what we see is a country that is grossly out of kilter with regards cost of living increases. The Meath West Deputy also pointed out the worrying statistic that before transfers, 50% of the population are at risk of poverty.
Deputy Tóibín said:
“This is a startling imbalance in the economic structure of our society. While social welfare transfers ameliorate some of these difficulties, the truth is large sections of our society are being paid poverty wages. Hundreds of thousands of families have a member in full time work that is being paid a wage that is insufficient to pay rent, buy food and clothes and cover the cost of education and health.
“As a result of this, the state supplements the income of this family. This is in an effect a subsidy to the employer that employs at a below cost of living wage. This cannot go on. We need to ensure that the rate of pay reflects the cost of living. This can only be done by increasing the minimum wage and introducing a Living Wage.
“A Living Wage is a function of the employers’ pay and the cost of living. The more reasonable the cost of living, the less pressure that is put on the shoulders of employers. The cost of living is the government’s responsibility.
“The single most useful action to tackle the cost of living the state can undertake is to start a significant programme of building social houses. Accommodation alone in the mid-east region is consuming nearly 50% of the income of those on the average industrial wage.
“Real, practical steps are necessary to take the pressure off low and middle income families including implementing rent certainty, reforming the private housing supply, creating universal provision of healthcare, making education free to families, supporting childcare costs as well as reforming the sheltered sectors of insurance, law, energy and credit.”