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Deliberate impoverishment… September 9, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Dr. Tricia Keilthy, head of social justice with the SVP, has a hard hitting piece in the IT this week where she notes:

Data from the Central Statistics Office showed record levels of employment in the State with 2.3 million people now at work. But we know Brexit, and in particular the chaos of a no-deal Brexit, presents a serious threat to both employment levels and wage growth. The labour market impacts are difficult to predict, but it is expected that those in low-paid jobs, notably those in the agri-food sector, will be hit hardest. People living in Border counties, who are already experiencing higher levels of poverty, will be more exposed to the risk of unemployment and wage stagnation.


For households in Northern Ireland, the consequences will be even more severe. A report by the UK’s Department of the Economy published in July stated that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal there will be a “profound and long-lasting impact on NI’s economy and society”. It is estimated that up to 40,000 jobs could be lost. This predicted rise in unemployment could coincide with the introduction of universal credit, the controversial welfare reform that merges six benefits into one. It is estimated that approximately 40 per cent of households will be worse off under the universal credit scheme.

Her conclusion is that:

…the social and economic impacts of a no-deal Brexit will disproportionately hit low-income households. For those at risk of poverty and still carrying the scars of the last economic recession, it could have a particularly detrimental impact, unless sufficient safeguards are put in place.

Self-evident? Of course, and predictable as indeed many did predict it from the off. But absolutely necessary to restate that these are very real impacts. On this site a while back I was struck by one supporter of Brexit dismissing the actual loss of jobs already from Brexit in the agricultural area on this island. But those impacts are real, are already in train and are only going to increase – particularly as Keilthy notes where levels of deprivation in this state alone are double what they were in 2007.

One can rightly ascribe blame where it resides – a Fine Gael led coalition that has succeeded another FG led coalition and before that an FF/GP coalition, but to add to that is near enough criminal. She writes;

Research from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) shows that an increase in trade tariffs could add between €892 and €1,360 to the annual cost of a basket of goods. The impact on low-income households will be 70 per cent higher than on those in the highest income group due to the higher share of household expenditure on food and energy by lower income households.

That’s an unimaginable increase for those already stretched by circumstance. And there’s no political will to provide more supports in the current political context, and no likely alternative on the horizon.

But that’s simply a no-deal Brexit. Even an agreed Brexit will see prices increase, living standards erode and so on. That’s simply a function of Brexit as a process. That was baked in from the off.


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