Caritas recognises social dimension of Budget 2014
The Ministry for Finance welcomes the Caritas document on the Budget 2014 which recognises and endorses the social dimension underpinning the 2014 Budget – a budget that sought to bring about tangible economic growth that affects the whole of society.
In its document, Caritas welcomes the Government’s commitment to assist vulnerable social groups, encourage greater labour participation, lessen individuals’ dependency on social benefits, and help with the transition from social benefit dependency to the work force.
The Finance Ministry also welcomes Caritas’ recognition that the budget measures aimed at addressing tax evasion and social benefit abuse are necessary for the sustainability of the social services.
With regard to the minimum wage, the Ministry for Finance agrees that the problem of the working poor should be addressed on all fronts. However the Ministry does not agree with the report’s conclusion that the minimum wage has remained tied solely to compensation for price increases (inflation rate), and has never considered other factors, such as the well-being of the country.
The Ministry notes that, over the last 23 years, the COLA mechanism has increased the minimum wage by 108 percent, while the retail price index has increased by 80 percent over the same period.
This year’s minimum wage is estimated to stand at €1,179 higher than if the minimum wage was adjusted only by the cost of living. This underlines how the COLA gives an annual increase that is higher than the inflation rate.