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Those on benefits do not have enough for 'basic standard of living'

A report being launched today highlights the difficulties of those in receipt of jobseeker’s benefit who do not have enough to meet their physical, psychological, spiritual and social needs.

A REPORT BEING launched today suggests that the majority of households who are dependent on jobseeker’s benefit do not have enough income for a basic standard of living.

A Minimum Income Standard for Ireland will be launched today by researchers from Trinity College Dublin with it reported that it will say that because the minimum wage and social welfare payments are not linked to what is needed for a basic standard of living, poverty and social exclusion will continue in Ireland.

“It does point up across working households as well as households who are unemployed that there are difficulties,” one of the report’s authors Micheál Collins, from the TCD and Economic Research Unit, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“It is simply the case that those  households do not have an ability to meet the basic standard of living. And what in reality that means, they have to make cutbacks somewhere. They are cutting back on the basics.”

The study was funded by the Department of Social Protection and was based on the UN definition of an adequate lifestyle which states: “A minimum essential standard of living is one which meets a person’s physical, psychological, spiritual and social needs.”

The research is also an updated and more broader examination of the expenditure necessary for this UN defined standard of living that has been  examined by the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice since 2004.

The work involved establishing representative family types across the country and working through the basic items each household would need for “minimum essential standard living”, Collins explained this morning,

He said that a clear distinction was made between households’ needs and wants and said that there were different requirements for different areas and differing circumstances of households.

For example, a family of two working parents with two children in primary school would have a minimum expenditure of around €540 per week which would be higher if those two children are in secondary school.

Collins RTÉ Radio that he hoped the research would “feed in to a number of areas” and would influence the formulation of government policy around the provision of income support and services that enhance social inclusion.

“When and if we are making further cuts, we need to be conscious that there are many households who are struggling already and further cuts will make that struggle even more complicated and challenging for them,” he added.

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