700,000 in poverty probably an underestimate says Finnegan

Figure does not account for hundreds of thousands who are not officially poor but are struggling to make ends meet

The Workers Party have said that the figure of 700,000 people living in poverty in this country published today by Social Justice Ireland is probably an underestimate and did not account for the much larger number of people who are not officially in poverty but who are struggling on a daily basis to make ends meet.

Workers Party President Michael Finnegan said that today’s report shows the extent to which people have suffered under the last four years of austerity and said that it was clear that this policy was  impacting especially hard on the most vulnerable in society, particularly on the 200,000 or more children living in poverty.

Mr. Finnegan said that another aspect of the report which was understated was the statement that the  poorest 10% of the population have an average disposable income of €210 a week.  “Clearly for people on social welfare, in low-paid jobs or those forced into internships this is a meaningless figure.  Their discretionary income, or what they have left to spend after all their bills and weekly expenses are paid, is tiny, if it exists at all”.

“Social Justice Ireland are correct in two things however.  They are correct in linking poverty with unemployment and they are correct in saying that the total tax take in this country is too low.  Clearly ordinary workers cannot afford to pay more tax therefore any extension of the tax take will have to come from those with wealth, and that does not include the modest family home.  The extremely low level of Corporation Tax will have to be increased significantly.  We call on the Labour Party and Sinn Féin which publicly decry poverty but who support tax breaks for the rich to alter their policies in this area”

Issued 10th April 2012

Peace, Work, Democracy & Class Politics