Ireland’s poorest 10% were the biggest losers in the economic crash and lost 18.4% of real disposable income (after taxes) compared to 11.4% loss among the richest 10%.
The figures were revealed by Social Justice Ireland’s (SJI) latest
research on the impact of the crash in 2008 on the population.
“The middle income to the lowest suffered most,” Michelle Murphy, SJI research and policy analyst, told CatholicIreland.net.
She explained that the 18.4% figure is based on data for 2011, and as
the budgets for 2012 and 2013 were regressive, the figure is likely to
show even more falls in the income available to those poorer groups.
This is just one issue highlighted in SJI’s latest the report entitled Who really took the hits during Ireland’s Bailout?
“Over the weekend we heard the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste speak of
December 15th and throwing off the shackles and regaining our economic
sovereignty,” she said.
“(We need) progressive budgets, and to protect those on very low and
middle incomes who have not been protected. Those are people who are
being impacted most by cuts in expenditure in health, education and all
these other services and (we need) to start implementing policies so
that those who have the most, pay the most, because they can afford to
She suggested that corporation tax should make more of a contribution
to the economy. She also questioned Ireland’s policy of attracting
foreign direct investment to create jobs, while the tax return on this
The report states that if the many cuts to services and the
increasing charges for them were added to the calculations, the hit on
the poor is even harder.
“The people who rely most on public services are people with a
disability, older people, families with children, they are the heaviest
users of services,” Michelle Murphy said.
She gives an example of the charges for school transport.
The Primary school transport charge was introduced at €50 and is now
€100, likewise the secondary school transport cost has increased to
€100. So for a family with just one child in primary and one in
secondary the increased cost amounted to €100 in just one year.
Other findings show that the gap between low and middle-income in
Ireland and the rich has widened dramatically. The richest 20% of the
population was the only group to see total disposable income grow in the
last five years.
SJI highlights that budgets introduced under the Troika (2011-2014)
were regressive, taking more as a percentage of income from those who
have least. However the 2008-2009-2010 budgets (before the Troika
arrived) were not regressive.
SJI states that the Government did have choices in recent years and
could have introduced fairer budgets. Instead the choices they made
resulted in increased inequality in Ireland.
Meanwhile, research produced by the IMF shows that the way the
Government chose to reduce the deficit was always likely to produce
greater inequality and higher levels of unemployment. Other options were
and are available.
For text of Social Justice Ireland’s analysis see www.socialjustice.ie