Thursday, September 27 07:36:27
New research by the Economic and Social Research Institute has said that social welfare payments to most unemployed people here are in line with the European average. The Institute adds that only a small number would be better off on social welfare than taking a job. The ESRI has criticised the OECD and the IMF for misinterpreting data on Irish social welfare rates.
The Troika has been pressing the Government to make changes to the social welfare system. They have claimed that a high level of welfare payments can act as a disincentive to unemployed people to take up paid work. The claim is based on OECD figures that show Ireland has one of Europe's highest replacement rates. This is the percentage of a person's salary replaced by social welfare if they lose their job.
But this has been challenged by the ESRI, which said Irish replacement rates are only high when rent and mortgage supplement are included. As only one in eight jobseekers get this supplement, the ESRI argues it should be excluded from comparative figures. On this basis, Irish welfare payments are in line with the West European average the ESRI said. The ESRI said that only 6pc of the total population would be better off on the dole than working, and of this group around three quarters have jobs and chose to work.