Gap between rich and poor is growing, new analysis shows

The gap was found to have increased by €2.96 per week, or €154 per year.
Gap between rich and poor is growing, new analysis shows

The gap between rich and poor in Ireland is growing as a result of recent budgetary measures, according to Social Justice Ireland.

In its latest briefing, Social Justice Ireland said that the widening rich-poor gap shows "Government policy is not yet focused on achieving the objectives of reducing poverty and promoting social inclusion".

Speaking about the latest analysis, Colette Bennett, economic and social analyst, said the increase in the rich-poor gap is a result of the taxation and welfare measures adopted in budget 2022.

The gap was found to have increased by €2.96 per week, or €154 per year.

“The overall rich-poor gap stood at €975 per week (€50,800 per annum) in 2022, and it has grown by a total of €30 per week (€1,550 per annum) over the period 2014-2022,” Ms Bennett explained.

“Our analysis also monitored what we call the “middle-poor gap”, that is the difference in the distributional impact of recent budgets on households dependent on jobseekers payments (poor) and PAYE workers on €40,000 per year (middle).

“Overall, the middle-poor gap has grown by a total of €21 per week (€1,070 per annum) over the period 2014-2022.”

According to Ms Bennett, the cumulative middle-poor gap stood at €572 per week (€29,800 per annum) in 2022.

"The gap has marginally decreased by 16 cent per week following the budgetary policies of the current Government (Budgets 2021 and 2022), this can be explained by the full payment of the Christmas Bonus to jobseekers in 2020/21 and no other changes to income taxation or welfare payments for these individuals”

Among households with jobs, the gains range from a mere 39 cent per week (for low income couples on €30,000) to €16.11 per week for couples with incomes over €80,000.

Earners on the living wage gain more on account of the increase in the level of that payment.

Meanwhile, for households dependent on welfare, the gains have ranged from €5 per week for single unemployed individuals to €24.65 per week for unemployed couples with two children over 12 years of age.

Commenting on the widening rich-poor gap, Dr Seán Healy, CEO, Social Justice Ireland said: “The fundamental test for every Government is whether, when it leaves office, those with the least in our society are in a better position than when it entered office.

“The choices that Government has made in recent budgets will see the number of people in poverty grow”

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