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Shameful Government policies to blame for increase in middle-income poverty

12 May, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social and Family Affairs, Seán Crowe TD has said "shameful Government policies" are responsible for the growing level of poverty among middle-income families. Families with an income of up to €40,000 a year are now among the new poor, according to the Department of Social and Family Affairs. Deputy Crowe said that this "reflects the darker side of the Celtic Tiger."

Deputy Crowe said, "I welcome the fact that the Department of Social and Family Affairs has finally woken up to this problem. According to its Money Advice and Budgets Services more than a third of its clients now come from families with incomes ranging between €30,000 and €40,000 per year. This reflects the darker side of the Celtic Tiger, which this Government constantly ignores.

"While everyday the country‚s millionaires grow even richer, the reality is that more and more people are struggling to cope with the increasing costs of living. It is true that people are earning more money than ever but other factors have to be accounted for also. The cost of accommodation and feeding a family is at an all-time high. Young couples starting families are dependent on two incomes and therefore have to fork out for childcare, which costs nearly as much per month as a mortgage.

"It is shameful Government policies that are directly to blame for this growth in poverty, especially the Government's housing policies. The lack of social and affordable housing means that young people are having to pay obscene prices for mortgages while banks and private developers have seen their profits grow to outrageous levels.

"It is no coincidence that while Bank of Ireland are announcing record profits of €1.3billion for the year up to March this year, many of their customers are now entering the poverty trap." ENDS

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