The Social Democrats support the increase in the Living Wage rate – but stress that there also has to be a focus on reducing the cost of living.
Party co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said:
“I welcome the increase in the Living Wage for 2017 to €11.70 per hour. The experts who calculate this increase say it reflects changes in the cost of living, and the main driver of this is rising housing costs including spiraling rents. Yet the government continues to talk about tax cuts rather than focusing on ways to tackle the high costs that people face for childcare, housing and health and education.
“One in five people in Ireland earn less that the Living Wage – this is unacceptably high and the Government appears to have no strategy to deal with it. These are people who are getting up in the morning and trying to make ends meet but on a daily basis they face out of pocket costs for services that are free in other countries.
“Government simply won’t be able to deal with these costs if it continually erodes the tax base. And tax cuts will not significantly benefit most people on low wages. Indeed increases in wages will never catch up with the increases in rents seen over the past few years. The reality is that a 20c increase still won’t pay the rent.
“The key is to invest in public services and bring down costs faced by families. By investing and targeting some key costs that family budgets face, we can help ease the burden on people without further eroding our tax base. That would significantly improve the standard of living for low-wage workers.”
5 July 2017