FG Senator Proposes ‘Welfare Ceiling’

The amount of welfare benefits a family is entitled to should be limited according to a Fine Gael Senator.

The measure, proposed by a Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South East Catherine Noone, proposes the introduction of a ‘welfare ceiling’ to cap current welfare expenditure. The plan would cap payments a family receives at a certain point, similar measures have been introduced in the UK.

“The introduction of a welfare ceiling would incentivise the pursuit of employment and, in doing so, would help to break the cycle of poverty. Too often, on all sides of this debate, we have people making generalisations. I want to try to get beyond that and talk about real, practical solutions which provide incentives rather than punishments,” said Noone.

The ceiling, if introduced, could seriously hurt families who are already struggling to make ends meet. In July, The Irish League of Credit Unions published it’s second ‘what’s left tracker’ which examined the financial strains on households. The survey found that families have less than €100 to spend per month after all household outgoings are paid. In some cases, families are forced to borrow in order to pay bills.

“The welfare ceiling is about making sure that the welfare pot is available for those who truly need it, ensuring that cuts are targeted in the right direction,” said Noone adding “I am aware of a number of instances where families have been in receipt of welfare payments which ultimately total more than €70,000. It’s clear that this needs to be stopped.”

The measure is one of many proposals the Coalition have pursued in a bid to reign in spending. In September, the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, oversaw the examination of the Social Insurance Fund (SIF), where she said it was her duty to “balance the books.”