The Cost of a Crisis – Who pays?


We’ve recently been informed about the fact that Dublin has 30,000 millionaires living in it, but what do the figures tell us about how the rest of us have coped with this crisis? The National Economic and Social Council actually produced a report on this very subject entitled ‘The Social Dimensions of the Crisis: The Evidence and Its implications.’

The government is continuously telling us that we’ve turned a corner. Recently we were subjected to the new leader of the Labour party desperately trying to spin the line that her party is one that cares; essentially launching the re-election campaign alongside Enda when they did a re-boot of this coalition.

What has the crisis really done to people under the lifetime of this government?

Many people lost jobs, with unemployment jumping from 5% in 2007 to over 14%. In 2010 we lead Europe in the worst possible chart, that of having 22% of households jobless. Another interesting statistic to be aware of is the number of people who are reporting as being under-employed. In 2006 4,100 people were under-employed and in 2012 it had risen to 145,800, an increase of 3,556%. Does this indicate a volume of low paid, short term, zero hour contract jobs which have been created in place of full time work?

The poorer households are those with lone parents, unemployed, or people who are ill or disabled. In the low income households, spending is more likely to exceed income and this report put the percentage of households where this was happening at 38%. 23% of households reported being in arrears in one or more bill, and the total for local authority rent arrears jumped from €33M [2008] to €59M at the end of 2012. Traditionally people have used rent as a form of credit. When expenditure consistently exceeds income that money has to come from somewhere, savings, loans, or moneylenders? 

The percentage of people who are keeping up with payments of bills but finding it a constant struggle rose to 17%.
The numbers claiming mortgage income supplement has increased six fold since 2006 to 18,703 in 2011. The number of households on local authority housing waiting lists has risen by 129%, with 98,318 households awaiting accommodation by March 2011. 

So whilst the number of millionaires in Dublin has increased, know this - the people who’ve paid dearly for the crisis are the poor. Those who live in consistent poverty [that is less than €209.40 per week] has nearly doubled to 7% in 2008. 24% of the population are deprived [lacking at least two necessities] and the deprivation rates for those who are at risk of poverty was a staggering 43% in 2011.