SVP call for welfare increases as part of Budget 2024 to end poverty

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul office on Upper Hartstonge Street. Photo: Google Maps.

THE SOCIETY of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) say that rates of poverty will rise across Limerick and nationwide if the Government don’t do enough to help as part of the Budget 2024 package.

According to the society, Budget 2024 offers the Government “a unique opportunity” to provide a minimum essential standard of living.

In their pre-Budget submission, SVP has called on the Government to adjust weekly social welfare rates by at least €27.50 to prevent more people falling into poverty in the face of the increasing cost of living.

As part of their pre-Budget submission, SVP say that issues like income inadequacy, low pay and underfunded public services need to be addressed to stop people becoming trapped in the cycle of poverty.

According to the society, they have already received over 100,000 requests for help from families who cannot afford life’s basic essentials.

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The society’s pre-Budget submission lays out 36 requests to end poverty in Ireland, such as the introduction of a cost of disability payment of €40 per week, and an increase in the fuel allowance as well as making more people eligible for it (such as those on the Working Family Payment).

As well as that, SVP would like to see an increase in HAP and rent supplement payments, free school books at second level, and the provision of free childcare to families with medical cards.

Launching their pre-Budget submission, SVP Head of Social Justice Tricia Keilthy said: “We know our Government is capable of reversing rising rates of poverty and providing supports where they are needed if it chooses to do so. The design of our current system of supports is the result of a set of decisions about our society’s priorities and resources.”

“At SVP we see that too often these choices have resulted in people trapped in poverty.  During the pandemic the government chose to protect people’s incomes with payments that kept families above the poverty line. We need this Budget to show the same commitment and redesign the system to work for everyone.”

She continued: “Increasingly, we are seeing that work is not always a route out of poverty for families we are supporting. Budget 2024 has the potential to change this. Access and participation in employment relies on the strength of services such as childcare, public transport and in-work income supports, as well as decent wages and conditions.”