Union says tax-cutting agenda does not serve those hardest hit by austerity
January 21st: In a strongly-worded statement issued today, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said that deprivation is now a national emergency, and called on the Government to convene what he termed a ‘crisis summit’ of civil society groups, trade unions and employers’ organisations to devise strategies to raise living standards.
Mr Kelly was reacting to today’s figures from the CSO which show that over 30 per cent of us were officially recorded as living in deprivation in 2013 – a massive jump over the 2012 figures and a clear reflection of the cumulative impact of austerity.
Nearly one in five people in work live in deprivation, indicating that work is no longer a pathway out of poverty for many workers. Today’s figures also show that over 60 per cent of lone parents live in deprivation, as do over half of those unable to work due to a disability or illness. Housing tenure is also reflected in the figures, with 57 per cent of social housing tenants and 41 per cent of private rented tenants suffering deprivation. Nor have the elderly been spared the worse of the recession: over 23 percent – or nearly a quarter – of elderly people living alone experience deprivation.
“Deprivation is now a national emergency and must be treated as such by the Government. I am urging An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to convene a crisis summit of civil society groups, trade unions and employers’ organisations to devise to address this emergency.
“What is needed now is a concerted effort to raise the living standards of those at the bottom of the income pyramid, whether in work or reliant on social protection. Rather than floating proposals for tax cuts, the Government now needs to focus on the deprivation crisis facing 1.4 million people – including 425,000 children”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.