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NERI findings show gap between Wages and Cost of Living has widened – Carthy

19 December, 2014

Commenting today on the findings of the Nevin Economic Research Institute which show that the difference between average weekly earnings and the cost of living has increased over the past six years, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy states that more must be done to address rising costs for working families.

Carthy said:

“The Nevin Economic Research Institute has found that, based on the latest CSO figures, average wages fell by less that 8% between 2008 and the third quarter of 2014 while disposable income fell by as much as 20% in the same period.

“Effectively this means that the fall in disposable income, which governs people’s living standards, cannot be accounted for by the drop in wages, although significant, and other factors such as higher taxes, lower social payments and rising living costs must also be factored in.

“The reality on the ground is that, over the past six years in particular, we have seen the emergence of the “working poor” – families and individuals who are working full time yet struggle to make ends meet from week to week due to the high cost of childcare, housing, healthcare, education and public transport.

“Instead of introducing policy measures to help alleviate these costs, successive Governments have instead targetted those on lower and middle incomes time and time again, refusing to recognise that they simply do not have any more to give.

“The latest ESRI report shows clearly that Budget 2015, just like the previous Budgets introduced by this Government, is regressive and unfairly impacts those on lower incomes while those on higher incomes benefit.

“While I welcome the Government’s announcement this week that it intends to look at the issue of low pay, we must be cautious of auction style politics and simplistic solutions.

“ It is becoming increasingly clear, in my view, that a more comprehensive analysis needs to be carried out taking into account all of the factors which have resulted in lower living standards for families if this Government is to show it is serious about addressing this issue.”

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