The latest Irish League of Credit Unions “What’s Left” income survey shows deterioration in disposable income and an increased reliance on borrowing to make ends meet. The survey exposes the failing austerity policies that are hitting the incomes and quality of life of millions in Ireland.
There are over 1.8 million adults in Ireland with less than €100 a month after essential bills, 69% have less disposable income than one year ago. Clearly Fine Gael/Labour’s cuts and extra charges are responsible for this. This government’s austerity policy is failing just like the FF / Green government’s.
Borrowing is on the rise, 40% borrow to pay monthly bills, with 10% borrowing from money lenders, 25% of credit card holders use their cards to pay regular bills. Credit card debt is increasing – the average credit card debt is now standing at €1,100, 28% miss credit card payments while 34% make only the minimum monthly payment.
Austerity destroys incomes. Measures such as the household tax, water tax, reductions to welfare, increases in income taxes, increases in transport costs, and public sector cuts all impact on income. The cuts are driving down consumer spending which in turn has an impact on jobs and incomes in the private sector.
The low and middle income earners in Ireland are facing a reducing standard of living. But Ireland is not a poor country. During the current crisis the incomes of the richest 10% increased by 4%, while the bottom 10% saw incomes fall by 18%. The 33,000 millionaires in Ireland own €121billion worth of wealth. Irish based individuals and companies own $1.3trillion in securities and shares.
Austerity policies have failed. We need socialist economic policies. The massive wealth and resources in Ireland and internationally should be used to provide for our needs. Wealth should be nationalised and democratically controlled, investment is required to end unemployment and provide us with our needs.