The core social welfare rate should be increased by €20 a week, the campaign group Social Justice Ireland have argued.
Inflation in the Irish economy was estimated to be 9.6% last month and concern has been raised by politicians across parties about the impact on people with fixed incomes.
Budget 2023 is scheduled for late September and Social Justice Ireland hope that the Minister for Finance will boost the core social welfare payments in line with the soaring cost of living:
“[It’s] a big ask for €208 to cover your accommodation costs, your food, your heat, your light, your transport, your haircut, your clothes, your birthday presents, your Christmas presents,” Susanne Rogers with Social Justice Ireland told Newstalk Breakfast.
“So €20 a week just about covers the rise in inflation that we’ve seen this year.
“€17 is needed to just stand still and then the extra couple of quid would go some way to see some reduction in the extra costs that people are experiencing.
“But it would cost €17 extra just to put the same basket of goods on the table as this time last year.”
The organisation estimates such an increase would cost state coffers €878 million annually but maintains that it will mean long-term savings in other areas:
“Inaction will cost money - so we won’t save anything by not doing this,” Ms Rogers continued.
“There will be a cost somewhere down the line for these households that will have to be picked up somewhere else along the line.
“Be it within the health system, be it within the housing system, so €20 a week will allow people on core social welfare rates to maintain a basic standard of living.”
“The Summer Economic Statement does show that there is money in the coffers and while the emphasis should be on capital investment, spending that on social housing, spending that on the health and the education system.. But again I can’t even begin to imagine how people are going to cope without this increase.”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has previously said that measures in the Budget that help with the cost of living would have “immediate application.”
Main image: Pictured is the Social Welfare Office on Thomas Street, Dublin. Picture by: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland