Almost 70% of Irish public agrees government should prioritise investing in public services over income tax cuts

14 July 2015

Publication cover - TASC BA Results June 2015
Cover image for TASC BA Results June 2015

Poll shows overwhelming support for increasing the Minimum Wage and for more Government action to reduce economic inequality in Ireland.

Almost 70% of the Irish public agrees that the Government should prioritise investing in public services over cutting income taxes according to a poll for the independent, progressive think tank TASC. The poll was conducted in June amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 16 years and over by the market research company, Behaviour & Attitudes.

Amongst the key poll findings were the following:

  • 69% agree that the Government should prioritise investing in public services rather than spending money to cut income taxes;
  • 86% agree that the Minimum Wage should be increased – this is up from 84% last year and 65% in 2010;
  • 77% agree that the Minimum Wage should be the same as a Living Wage which has now been calculated at €11.50 per hour;
  • 86% agree that the Government should do more to prevent the use of low-hours contracts;
  • 85% agree that the Government should do more to reduce economic inequality in Ireland.

TASC Policy Analyst, Cormac Staunton, said the poll findings show there is strong support for public spending increases over tax cuts, and ensuring a decent standard of living for low paid workers. This shows where public sentiment is at on these important issues for those taking part in this week’s Government-sponsored National Economic Dialogue.

“The tax cuts indicated in the April’s Spring Economic Statement mean that the Government will forego €2 billion in additional tax revenue over the next three years. With the National Economic Dialogue due to take place this week, the results show strong public support for investing this money in health, education, public transport and housing.

“Ireland clearly has a system that is already under strain. We have a health service that needs serious investment and a significant housing crisis. There is a lack of affordable childcare, and our primary and secondary education systems impose considerable costs on parents and families.

Cormac Staunton said that the Behaviour & Attitudes poll shows that there is strong public support for increasing the Minimum Wage. 

“It’s also clear from the poll that there is overwhelming public support for raising the Minimum Wage – currently set at €8.65 per hour – and indeed setting it at a Living Wage level, which has recently been calculated as €11.50 per hour. This should certainly assist the Government in acting decisively on the report of the Low Pay Commission when it emerges in the coming weeks.”

Mr Staunton pointed out that Ireland has the third highest level of low pay in the OECD with more than one in five workers officially classified as being on low pay. The incidence of low pay in Ireland is rising steadily and more quickly than our international counterparts. This is not related to the economic collapse as the number of workers experiencing low pay has been increasing since 2003.

“Minimum Wages can play an important role in reducing inequality and reducing the level of low pay, which is why the work of the Low Pay Commission is so important. In order to be effective, the Minimum Wage must be close to a Living Wage – which is now calculated to be €11.50 per hour.”

Finally, in relation to low hours contracts, Cormac Staunton said that the Behaviour & Attitudes poll shows that there is overwhelming public support for the Government in tackling this problem.

BEHAVIOUR AND ATTITUDES SURVEY 2015

Notes to Editors

The Living Wage is an hourly wage rate that should provide full-time employees with sufficient income to achieve a minimum acceptable standard of living. The Living Wage is calculated using an evidence-based ‘Minimum Essential Standard of Living’ approach. Unlike the Minimum Wage, the Living Wage is based directly on the cost of living in Ireland today. www.livingwage.ie

TASC is an independently-funded progressive think-tank which seeks to raise the level of public knowledge about public policy, politics, economics, culture, the environment and related fields, to encourage a more equal, democratic and inclusive society. TASC’s produces policy analysis and present evidence-based proposals for the achievement of a more equal, flourishing society with accountable government and strong, responsible public engagement. www.tasc.ie

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Pat Montague, Montague Communications, 087-2549123

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