Being employed still leaving 750,000 at risk of poverty, SVP reports

The Government is being urged to protect welfare rates against the rising cost of living.

The call comes from the Society of St Vincent de Paul - which is calling for "urgent action" to help more than 750,000 people at risk of poverty.

The Society claims it is seeing increasing numbers of people come to them for help, even if they are employed, because they cannot make ends meet.

SVP's Budget submission said child benefit and welfare rates should be protected and enhanced - to offset the introduction of water and prescription charges as well as the property tax.

Among the measures it is calling for is child benefit being restored to secondary school students who are under 18 in low-income families. It also calls for provisions to prevent "water and fuel poverty"

The Society's National President Geoff Meagher says those on welfare and low incomes are being left behind.

"Inflation has caught up with people on social welfare, as indeed it has with everybody,"

"People on low incomes are severely at risk, and we would have seen the impact of no changes in social welfare over the last number of year, coupled with the impact of all the various taxes that have come about.

"That has left a huge number of people in severe difficulty."

The organisation also said the number of callers it is dealing with is continuing to rise, having doubled since 2009.

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