The Family Finances Report published this week confirms what I have been saying all along that while the economy in general seems to be improving, ordinary middle income families are still under severe financial pressure and any recovery is as far away as ever from them.
The report finds that higher childcare fees, and the rising cost of sending children to third level education among other rising costs, means that for over one million people in the 35 to 54 age bracket, there is no economic recovery and many are under financial pressure. The report also finds that the majority of people under pressure live outside Dublin and have been affected by job losses and wage cuts. I have been making this very point since I was elected and the facts are that there is a huge cohort of people who are still feeling the brunt of austerity with little hope of any relief on the horizon.
People who bought houses during the boom, and who are in trouble with their mortgages, and have to make ends meet and raise a family are under serious pressure. The fact that every worker who earns more than 38,000 Euro per year have to pay over 50% in taxes and charges is something that is going to have to be looked at by the Government. People in this middle income bracket pay for everything and get very few benefits. We hear almost every week that the Irish economy is one of the strongest performing in the EU but the reality for many people is that it’s a daily struggle to make ends meet. It is time that consideration be given to this huge group of people in our society when it comes to the budget provisions.