87% believe wealth in Ireland is unfairly distributed - almost half in favour of establishing a maximum wage

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The 2010 Inequality Survey published by independent thinktank TASC has shown that 87% of respondents believe that wealth in Ireland is unfairly distributed.  This is up from 70% in the equivalent survey carried out in 2008. 91% of respondents believe that active steps should be taken by Government to address this inequality and reduce the income gap between low and high income earners.

The survey ‘The Solidarity Factor: Public Responses to Economic Inequality in Ireland’ was carried out by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of TASC between March 26th and April 8th 2010 and published in mid-August.

As well as surveying people’s views in relation to economic inequality, the survey also probed views on the steps which people feel should be taken to address this inequality.  This threw up some interesting results with 29% saying they favoured the introduction of a maximum wage, 16% supporting an increase in the minimum wage and 49% favouring some combination of these two measures.

The practicalities of how a maximum wage might operate are referred to briefly in the report, and were not the subject of a question in the survey.  But the fact that almost half of all respondents were willing to support the possibility of such a measure shows that new measures to address inequality are beginning to form part of people’s political thought.

Commenting on the findings of the report, TASC director Paula Clancy said “The recession has coincided with growing awareness of economic inequality, and with a public willingness to adopt a range of measures to address it.  This public willingness is far ahead of government policy.”  TASC’s Head of Policy Sinéad Pentony commented “It is clear that the public is not only very aware of economic inequality, but wants steps to be taken to address it.  The challenge facing us now is to translate public opinion into a public policy imperative.”

The survey can be accessed at http://www.tascnet.ie/upload/file/Solidarity%20Factor_upload.pdf

WORDS: Gregor Kerr

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