THE CEO of Social Justice Ireland is calling for an increase to social welfare rates in line with cost of living demands as part of an extensive pre-budget submission.
Cork man and CEO of Social Justice Ireland, Dr Seán Healy shed light on the urgent need to alleviate financial strain on families at the launch of this year’s pre-budget submission.
He said that Budget 2023 measures should be an essential part of the evolving response to the current experience of rising living costs.
Mr Healy proposed that a €20 increase for all core social welfare rates be included among Budget 2023 measures.
“A €20 increase in core social welfare payments in Budget 2023 must be part of a suite of targeted measures to support households on fixed incomes,” Dr Healy said.
“A social welfare payment should provide an adequate safety net to lift people out of poverty. This is even more critical considering increased costs of essentials such as rent, energy and heating costs, and the risks to food security”
He warned that if nothing is done to support low-income recipients, many will be left behind.
The CEO also referenced the squeezed middle saying: “Households in the middle are also being impacted by rising costs, households who don’t qualify for supports such as the Fuel Allowance, the Working Family Payment or the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Scheme,” Dr Healy said. “The Government is right to want to support these households and the most effective way to reduce costs for these households in the long term is a strategy of investment in public services”.
Meanwhile, Colette Bennett, who is an Economic and Social Analyst with Social Justice Ireland outlined a series of proposals in relation to housing, and social housing provision at the launch.
“Housing affordability continues to present a serious issue in Ireland with prospective homeowners facing house price increases of 15.2 per cent this year, and renters facing annual increases of more than 11 per cent,” she said.
“We also have a persistent homelessness crisis, with the number of people accessing emergency homeless accommodation exceeding 10,500 in July 2022. To begin to address this challenge, Government must set a target of social housing stock that is 20 per cent of the overall housing stock by 2030. To achieve this Government must double its Housing for All targets in Budget 2023 at an additional cost of €1.4bn.”