Thursday, September 27 10:16:53
Research from independent economic think-tank, the ESRI, this morning dispelled the myth that many Irish are better off on the dole than working, saying that Ireland's benefits are in line with the rest of the EU.
It criticised the OECD and the IMF for misinterpreting data on Irish social welfare rates.
The ESRI figures show that just one in eight people currently in receipt of unemployment benefit would be better off staying on welfare than being in a job, even if that job paid only the minimum wage.
It strongly rejects research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris that claims the gap between earned income and welfare income is among the smallest in the 34-member bloc. The authors stress the need to counter the OECD research because recent International Monetary Fund reports, which have appeared to advocate reductions in welfare rates, have been "strongly influenced" by the OECD.
The ESRI researchers state their "more nuanced approach leads to quite different conclusions from those drawn by both OECD and IMF". Among its findings the ESRI says that single people are far more likely to have higher net incomes if they are in employment than on welfare, but the gap closes for married people.
A married adult on jobseeker's benefit has an annual income of E16,283, while his counterpart on minimum wage takes home E2,000 more. By contrast the gap for single people is E7,500.