INOU says idea of jobless receiving multiple allowances a ‘popular myth’

Representative body calls for basic welfare rates to be kept

Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed says there is a perception thatanybody who is unemployed is entitled to all benefits. Photograph: Frank Miller

Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed says there is a perception thatanybody who is unemployed is entitled to all benefits. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

Just 11 per cent of people on jobseekers’ allowance also receive rent supplement, the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU) has stated.

Some 70 per cent of those on jobseekers’ allowance receive just the basic payment of €188 a month.

In their pre-budget submission today, the INOU said the notion that unemployed people are in receipt of all kinds of income supports including rent allowance is a “popular myth”.

INOU policy officer Bríd O’Brien said there was a perception that anybody who was unemployed was entitled to all the benefits which was not the case.

“Very often the discussion around welfare rates are based on presumptions that people are in receipt of the entire suite of supports, when, in reality, all they are receiving is the jobseekers’ allowance payment,” she said.

INOU co-ordinator John Stewart said that for the “vast majority of unemployed people, €188 per week is the maximum support they receive from the State.”

As a consequence the INOU have called on the Government to maintain basis social welfare rates in the next budget.

They urged that the Family Income Supplement (FIS) which is given to those with a family who can work up to 19 hours a week or 38 hours a fortnight should be retained and should be triggered automatically as people exit social protection to take up work.

Ms O’Brien said too much focus was being put on export companies as a generator of jobs and not enough on indigenous employment. She said the real driver of jobs will be those created in local communities and through self-employment.

The INOU have called for a €500 million wealth tax, a “conservative figure” to be imposed which could go into job creation schemes.

She acknowledged that it would be a “challenge” to persuade a Fine Gael Government to introduce a wealth tax. “It is a challenge, but it is one that we all need to keep working on, those who are interested in social justice. We are not underestimating the challenge around it.”