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Dublin: 4 °C Friday 19 January, 2018

Married with children, unemployed, relying on social welfare

Michael is cohabiting, has two children, and is currently unemployed.

“There may be a growing social imbalance”

Michael Cuthbert is co-habiting and has two children, aged 17 and 12 years. He is currently unemployed and drawing dole. His income is  €10,000 per annum.

Michael is worried about the financial, economic and social effects that the Budget will have. He is concerned about mortgage repayments and a reduction in income, as well as the effect that the cuts might have on the elderly and people with disabilities. On a social level, is he is concerned about growing inequality, social dysfunction and increased xenophobia.

Michael is a former member of the Green Party.

Being unemployed, I’m losing €8 a week Job Seekers’ Allowance. My partner is down a fair – unfair? – bit on her income. And we’ll lose €20 a month child benefit. We’re not sure how much we are down in total. I’m sure we’ll manage, like most people.

While I think most people can afford to pay more in taxes and lose a bit in universal benefits – the price for the big party we threw these past 10 years – it really is mean to implement cuts on benefits for those most in need.

Wouldn’t it be more equitable to tax all income, including the state pension, child benefit etc. So those on low incomes of whatever sort would remain outside the income tax system, while those on good incomes would pay tax at the higher rate including on their universal benefits?

Michael says his concern is that high levels of income tax will ultimately stunt growth:

Being an unreconstructed greeny, I think income tax should be kept to a minimum anyway. It’s silly to tax work. If income tax were reduced, the government could make revenue on economic activity, for example, consumption, carbon emissions, water, etc, with protection for people on lower incomes through tax credits. Shame the Greens have pretty well abandoned this approach in recent times.

Read about how a retired person living on old age pension feels about the budget >

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