CORI urges rise in social welfare


The Conference of Religious of Ireland has called on the Government to increase social welfare payments.

In a statement yesterday, the organisation called for the payment to be increased by £14 a week for single people and by £24 for a couple.

Increases in the lowest social welfare rates in the Budget last year "were far below the minimum required to meet Program me for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF) commitments," it said. This week's Budget therefore "must make up for the failure to meet these commitments . . . as well as ensuring that they are met for the coming year".

It said: "more than sufficient resources are available to the Government to ensure every adult is taken out of income poverty.

"Whether or not the forthcoming Budget's decisions move decisively in this direction is a matter of political will. The critical question is whether or not this Government wants to eliminate income poverty in Irish society."

While a successful conclusion to the PPF negotiations on pay and tax would be welcome, it said it was "imperative" substantial new resources be made available to increase the incomes of the poorest people. This would be in line with the PPF's commitment to a balanced allocation of new resources, it said.

This would mean monetary gains from the negotiations "should also apply to people on social welfare," it said.

"The impact of inflation on a social welfare recipient is greater than its impact on a person earning the average industrial wage," CORI said.

Consequently "social welfare recipients should receive an additional, compensatory rise in their payments equivalent to the rise of those on the average wage. This rise should be determined in monetary terms and not in percentage terms," it said.