Cork opposition TD calls for increase to minimum wage amid rising costs of living 

He said that 8.5 per cent inflation would translate as double-digit inflation for low income households which spend disproportionately high percentages of their incomes on essentials such as heating and food
Cork opposition TD calls for increase to minimum wage amid rising costs of living 

Payslip

SOCIALIST Party TD Mick Barry has called for an increase in the national minimum wage in the wake of a new report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) which stated that inflation could peak at 8.5% this summer before averaging out across the year at 6.7%.

The Cork North-Central TD, who is a member of the Oireachtas finance committee, said that 8.5% inflation would translate as double-digit inflation for low income households which spend disproportionately high percentages of their incomes on essentials such as heating and food.

He referenced work by SIPTU economist Michael Taft who claims that inflation for low income households currently runs at 3% above the headline national rate of inflation.

“The Government used to say that the socialist demand for a €15 an hour minimum wage was unrealistic.

“It is increasingly clear, from the point of view of low paid workers, that anything less than €15 is completely unrealistic. You can’t feed your family and you can’t heat your home when your wages have effectively been slashed by the Government,” Mr Barry said.

Mr Barry countered the view that an increase in the national minimum wage might itself be inflationary by saying that he would have no problem with the measure being coupled with a range of price controls.

Speaking during a virtual address on the future of Ireland’s industrial policy to the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) yesterday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar acknowledged the cost of living crisis.

“For the first time in many years, real living standards could fall this year if prices rise faster than disposable incomes. It’s certainly true for very many households already.

“It’s something the government is conscious of and concerned about,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said he believes a “comprehensive anti-inflation strategy” is needed to reduce the cost of living.

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