The Society of St. Vincent De Paul were not satisfied with today's Budget announcements

One-off measures won’t stem a rise in poverty

St. Vincent De Paul react to the Budget 2023

“The cost of living package will help people get through this winter but next year people on low incomes will be pulled further into poverty due to inadequate social welfare increases and a failure to increase or expand the Fuel Allowance to families on the Working Family Payment.”

The Society of St. Vincent De Paul (SVP) recognizes that there are some positive aspects which can be taken from today’s Budget announcement, however it believes the one-off measures won’t stem a rise in poverty.

They state that spreading the resources available too thin and providing primarily once-off support leaves those in poverty very vulnerable to further hardship as the cost of living continues to rise.

SVP are particularly concerned about the 200,000 children who are living in enforced deprivation. Seventy percent of calls to the organisation come from households with children.

They are also very disappointed that there were no plans to expand a child benefit type payment to children in Direct Provision.

“Growing up in poverty is associated with worse outcomes across almost all key aspects of a child’s life. Children were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and now the cost of living crisis. We needed a budget that would deliver for these children but the increase in the Qualified Child rates is wholly inadequate, and will mean children in poverty going without basics more regularly,” said Dr. Tricia Keilthy, SVP Head of Social Justice.

In it’s pre budget submission, SVP had called for a €12 increase for children over 12 and €7 increase for children under 12.

The charity says the double child benefit payment is poorly targeted and instead the Government should have invested additional support to the poorest children through the Qualified Child Payment.

This led to Saint Vincent De Paul’s opinion on the announcements made about the housing crisis.

They reported that the best way to ensure stability and security for individuals and families is to increase the supply of social and affordable homes and want the Housing for All scheme to deliver on its commitments.

However, it says the overall budget allocation for homeless prevention is inadequate.

"Our experience shows that one of the biggest drivers of poverty among families today is housing costs.

“Parents want and need a place to call home, which is affordable and secure so that they can create a stable routine and environment for their children.

“Ensuring people can meet their housing costs and stay in their homes in the first place is one of the most important things the Government can do to prevent the trauma of homelessness. The new rent relief for tenants is welcome but unfortunately it will not go far enough as the Budget is weak on prevention and tenancy sustainment measures,” says Ms McGowan.

Summing up the organisations reaction to the Budget 2023, Dr. Keilthy concluded “the cost of living measures such as the one-off Fuel Allowance payment and double social welfare payment will help low-income households during what will be a very difficult winter, but they are only temporary.

“The increases in core social welfare rates do not cover the rise in the cost of living. This means a real-term cut to welfare for those already living below the poverty line. Increasing social welfare rates by €20 would have provided better support for individuals and families trying to get by on a very low income and helped prevent the damage caused by poverty in the longer term.

“The failure to address the impact of inflation on low-income households beyond short-term measures puts many people at risk of being pulled further into the kind of grinding daily hardship that is very difficult to escape.”