Welfare system can be “taken advantage of” – YFG

Proposed adjustment to the minimum wage criticised on social media

Cuts to social welfare rates and the minimum wage have been advocated by Young Fine Gael (YFG) in a policy document launched today.

Key proposals outlined in the document include introducing a system of mutual obligation for social welfare recipients, streamlining childcare supports in order to “reduce welfare dependency” in one-parent families, offering further tax incentives to companies hiring long-term unemployed young people, introducing mandatory work placements for third-level students, and supplementing a proposed €2 cut to the minimum wage with a government-paid “earned income tax credit”.

The document also recommends capping social welfare benefits for jobless households. It said that the cap should be “in line with the average industrial wage level” in order to “restore fairness to a system which can be taken advantage of.” YFG believes that such a move “will discourage people from becoming reliant on social welfare as a way of life and encourage them to seek employment or enter education.”

Chair of YFG, Dale MacDermott, said in a foreward to the document that the proposals comprise the “first of three detailed policy proposals that Young Fine Gael will be proposing over the coming months. It contains radical, new and different proposals that we believe can and will give young Ireland hope again.”

“We want people to seize their potential,” he said. “We want people to reach their aspirations. We want young Ireland to have a career, not just a job.”

However, outrage over the minimum wage adjustments proposed in the document has been mounting online.

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Chair of Labour Youth, Ciaran Garrett, has also hit out at the proposal in a statement this afternoon.

“Labour Youth strongly believes that the State should not subsidise or indeed incentivise low pay and should not encourage a race towards lower wages among employers,” he said.

“Research from the Nevin Economic Research Institute shows that Ireland has below average hourly labour costs for employers; therefore cutting pay is clearly not an appropriate solution to getting more young people back to work. Instead what we need to see is wage increases to stimulate demand in the economy.”

Catherine Healy

Editor of Trinity News. Interested in politics, history and all forms of media.