Calls for €20 social welfare increase and minimum wage of €13 in new Budget
Social Justice Ireland is calling for major changes.
The minimum wage in Ireland should increase to just under €13, while social welfare ought to significantly rise, according to the assessment of an independent think-tank.
Social Justice Ireland (SJI) argues that the forthcoming Budget, due in October, must address the current cost of living challenges faced by the public – something Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced will indeed dominate the agenda – and must also tackle "a range of uncertainties in a very challenging fiscal context".
Addressing the plans to introduce a new living wage over the next four years, Social Justice Ireland says that targeted measures to support households need to be "an essential part of the evolving policy response to the current experience of inflation" in the country.
SJI is advocating for a living wage of €12.90 to be established as part of Budget 2023, while the body is also calling for an increase of €20 in the existing social welfare framework.
The current national minimum wage, as of January 2022, stands at €10.50 per hour for those aged 20 years and over. A €20 rise in the present social welfare payment would see an increase to €226 per week for those aged 26 and over who avail of the basic supplementary welfare allowance.
"If Budget 2023 is to be a successful Cost of Living Budget it will need to focus its attention on those in society who need the greatest assistance with making ends meet given the significant and ongoing challenges we face. Those most exposed to price rises and those on the lowest hourly earnings," notes an SJI statement.
"The rapid increase in prices that emerged from mid-2021 poses particular challenges for low-income households throughout Ireland. These households spend a greater proportion of their income compared to better off households, they are more exposed to price increases; and they also spend a greater proportion of their income on food and energy. As inflation persists, policy will need to more impactfully target these low income households and assist with the growing living cost challenges they face."
You can read the full Social Justice Ireland pre-Budget overview here.
The current cost of living crisis continues to take the lead during discussions in Dáil Éireann, meanwhile, with Sinn Féin set to bring forward an official motion this week, calling for urgent action.
"The government has failed to act and deliver much-needed support to ensure that workers get a break," said Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty on Friday (24 June).
"Their excuses are wearing thin and people need action now. Sinn Féin will bring forward a motion in the Dáil next week demanding that the government deliver an emergency budget immediately to address the cost of living crisis.
“It’s clear that people cannot wait until October for the Budget, people are at breaking point and they need help urgently now.
No emergency measures are expected prior to October, however.