Poor child Support Enforces Joblessness

By Martin Murphy
Martin Murphy
Martin Murphy
December 17, 2012 Updated: December 17, 2012

Figures for jobless households in Ireland are twice the European average, according to a report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) released this week. 

The ESRI research measured trends with respect to in-work poverty households—households where adults spend less than one fifth of the available time in employment. The period examined was between 2004 and 2010, and the focus of the report was on working-age adults and their dependent children.

The research found that 22 per cent of Irish people were living in jobless households in 2010 when the figures were tabulated; this figure was 15 per cent in 2007 at the onset of the financial crisis. In 2007, however, that figure was still one of the highest in the Eurozone. Ireland’s 2010 figure of 22 per cent is twice the Eurozone average.

Report author Dorothy Watson said: “There were some unexpected findings…Tackling household joblessness will require a very broad approach to work, addressing a range of barriers. The solution will need to consider childcare and support services for people with a disability, as well as support for job search and skills development.” 

According to the ESRI, “The high rate in Ireland is partly due to the level of unemployment, but other important factors are that, compared to other EU countries, jobless adults in Ireland are less likely to live with a working adult and they are much more likely to live with children.”

According to the report there is a “strong” connection between household joblessness and poverty, and the report highlights the important role social welfare payments and other social transfers play in enabling jobless households to combat financial poverty. 

“Ireland is somewhat unique in Europe in the effectiveness of social transfers in reducing income poverty.

While the Irish social welfare system has become more efficient over time at lifting people in jobless households above the national financial poverty threshold, there has been essentially no improvement in their living standards (as measured by the basic deprivation indicator, 51 per cent in 2010 for those in jobless households) or levels of financial stress (58 per cent in 2010),” stated the ESRI on their website. 

Lack of education is also another factor that vastly increases ones chances of being at risk of living in a jobless household. Adult disability is also a factor that increases ones risk level. “Over one third of those living in jobless households were children and nearly one fifth were adults with a disability. Taken together, these two groups account for over one half of those living in jobless households,” stated the ESRI. 

Ms Joan Burton TD, Minister for Social Protection, said: “I am particularly concerned about the situation of children living in jobless households…It is for this reason that my Department provided financial support in Budget 2013 to the new area-based approach to child poverty being developed by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Office of the Tánaiste.”

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