A strong social safety net is vital to prevent poverty and social exclusion. It must provide security in old age and with the onset of disability or other difficult life events. The best designed welfare systems also ensure that there are good incentives and opportunities to progress out of unemployment or into education or training.
The social safety net in Ireland has been significantly eroded in recent years with cut-backs in the basic rates of social welfare payments by Fianna Fáil and the Green Party, and cuts in secondary benefits by Fine Gael and Labour. Some groups, such as lone parents and the young unemployed have been particularly badly affected. Meanwhile long-standing issues such as the cost of disability, older people living alone, and direct provision remain to be adequately addressed.
If we truly want to achieve a recovery for all, then we believe the priorities of the next Government should be as follows:
1.ELIMINATE POVERTY TRAPS BY:
2. MAKE ACTIVATION ABOUT THE PERSON RATHER THAN JUST COST-CUTTING BY:
3. INCREASE ALL SOCIAL WELFARE AND PENSION RATES IN LINE WITH COST OF LIVING INCREASES WITH EXTRA COMMITMENTS TO:
4. END DIRECT PROVISION:
5. NEW ANTI-POVERTY STRATEGY:
6. BETTER ADMINISTRATION