Budget 2021 MESL Pre-Budget Submission

Issued: July 2020

Budget 2021



This submission to Government presents evidence based policy recommendations, based on the MESL 2020 analysis of minimum needs and income adequacy.

The VPSJ welcomes the opportunity to make this submission to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection presenting evidence-based policy recommendations.

The crisis arising from COVID-19 and its impact on individuals, families, society, jobs and the economy present many unique challenges to the country and the new government. 

Prior to this crisis the reality was one of 690,000 people living below the at-risk of poverty threshold, including over 200,000 children, and over 110,000 people with a job but remaining ‘at risk of poverty’. Furthermore, social welfare rates were inadequate to meet the minimum needs of many household types, as measured by the VPSJ’s Minimum Essential Standard of Living (MESL) research. This fact was implicitly recognised when the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) was set at €350 per week.

It is crucial that both those already living with inadequate income when entering this crisis and those now reliant on state income supports, are supported through the measures taken in Budget 2021. Making progressive steps towards benchmarking social welfare rates against the cost of an MESL can ensure households are supported through this crisis and are ultimately enabled to live with dignity at a socially acceptable minimum level.