Housing charity calls on Govt not to forget 'working poor'

Ireland’s largest housing charity Respond has called on the Government not to forget the "working poor" or low-income families in this Wednesday’s Budget.

The Respond! Housing Association said that 40% of all households at risk of poverty are headed by a person in employment.

According to their spokesperson Aoife Walsh, the Government can protect the "working poor" by maintaining the minimum wage at the current level and ensuring those earning only €8.65 per hour are kept out of the tax net.

Ms Walsh said: "If the minimum wage is reduced in the upcoming budget, it will have a substantial negative impact on the economy. People won’t see any benefit in being part of the workforce and will simply leave to join the dole.

"This group has already been affected by the 2% income levy that was introduced in the April Supplementary Budget that means in reality the take-home minimum wage has fallen to €8.48 per hour. It is also crucial that the income threshold levy remains at €15,000 and that those earning the minimum wage are kept out of the tax net.”

Respond! is also calling for child benefit to be maintained at its current level in order to assist the 190,000 children at risk of poverty, especially as the Early Childcare Supplement (ECS) will be abolished at the end of December.

She said: "Respond! is calling on the Government not to implement the recommendation of the McCarthy report to reduce child benefit by €30 for the first 2 children and €67 for subsequent children

"We still have one of the highest child poverty rates in Europe and it is unconscionable that Government should impose further suffering on our most vulnerable citizens."


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