Belfast Telegraph

IMF paper calls for benefit cuts

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued an academic paper, signed off by lead negotiator in Dublin Ajai Chopra, calling for the minimum wage and dole payments to be cut in Ireland.

The position paper said Ireland had to tackle its rising unemployment rate and should gradually reduce benefits over the time a person is out of work and impose stricter job search requirements.

The IMF called for more resources to be pumped into the unemployment agencies, like Fas, to provide efficient assistance to the growing number of people looking for a job.

It recommended that reductions in the minimum wage should track the general fall in wages.

The IMF also suggested the Government reform planning and licensing systems and focus public resources on high-priority projects in the knowledge-based economy.

Social Justice Campaigner, Fr Sean Healy, claimed the IMF's approach intended to save banks and big businesses while targeting the weak, poor, sick, unemployed and marginalised.

He said the majority of people on benefits were in the poverty trap before the recession took hold, with 39% of households headed by a person with a job also at risk of falling below the poverty line: "These proposals are tailor-made to make sure the working poor group will be in deeper poverty."

Fr Healy maintained proposals to cut social welfare payments to make people go back to work were nonsense.

"What jobs are they going to take up?" asked Fr Healy. "There are 450,000 people unemployed. The jobs are not out there."

Meanwhile Siptu trade union has already made it clear members will oppose wage cuts for the lowest paid.

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From Belfast Telegraph