The Low Pay Commission is recommending an increase to the minimum wage of 30 cents, bringing it to €9.55 per hour.
Fine Gael TD for Longford-Westmeath, Peter Burke, believes this and other supports will greatly benefit lower paid workers here in Westmeath.
“Increasing the minimum wage is just one tool in a wider Government programme to help the lower paid and incentivise people into work,” Deputy Burke said. “Affordable childcare is on the way this September, which will see benefits of up to €1,040 per year available for all children aged between six months and 36 months in full-time childcare.
“The latest data from the Central Statistics Office shows that Ireland is becoming more equal and that poverty is decreasing. Fine Gael in Government recognises that higher levels of public investment in social and economic infrastructure in Westmeath will improve skills, childcare, and empower our communities. These are the building blocks for more inclusive, fairer and sustainable patterns of economic growth in our society.
“The latest CSO Household Budget Survey shows that our economic recovery is being used to reduce inequality across the country. The survey found that the gap between the highest and lowest income households narrowed between 2009-2010 and 2015-2016. Economic and social progress go hand in hand. Only a strong economy supporting people at work can pay for the services needed to create a fair society.”
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, welcomed the recommendation from the Low Pay Commission to increase the national minimum wage by 30c.
“It would work out as a €12 increase in a full 40-hour week,” he commented. “This would be a modest increase, but it’s ahead of the rate of inflation and average increases in earnings. It would be the fourth increase in the minimum wage since 2011, and the second under this Government, and a further step towards the Programme for Government commitment for a minimum wage of €10.50.”