Long term, Budget 2023 will not protect women from poverty and inequality
Published: Monday, October 03, 2022
The National Women’s Council releases gender analysis of Budget 2023, says that commitments to childcare and healthcare are welcome but marginalised women and women in poverty may be left behind
As a feminist organisation, NWC recognises that a more equitable collection and distribution of public resources is required to advance gender equality, particularly for marginalised women.
NWC has carried out a gender analysis of Budget 2023. Find it here.
The many positive developments for women include commitments to childcare and healthcare. One-off supports are also welcome. But NWC agrees with the ESRI analysis that, long-term, this budget will not protect women from poverty and income inequality.
Budget 2023 represented a significant breakthrough on childcare. The investments in Budget 2023 must be built on in the next two budgets, as part of a pathway to a public model of childcare that is affordable, accessible and of high quality.
The GP card extension will particularly benefit women between the ages of 45 and 64, as this age group is much more likely to visit their GP when they have a GP card or medical card. This is a vital progression towards developing a universal healthcare system in Ireland which is of particular importance for women.
The creation of a Youth Mental Health Lead is a very welcome development in Budget 2023. Young women are disproportionately affected by depression, anxiety and eating disorders. But it is disappointing to see a lack of investment in Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Services and investment to progress Ireland’s first Mother and Baby Unit (MBU).
An increase of only €2 in the Qualified Child Increase is hugely disappointing. Government also failed to increase the Working Family Payment beyond the one-off payment. It is well established that these payments are the most effective way of addressing poverty.
NWC is disappointed to see no budget line allocated to child maintenance in Budget 2023 despite its important role in the prevention of poverty.
The one-off cost of living payment of €500 for disabled people pales in comparison to the ongoing, day to day, extra costs experience by disabled people, estimated at €8,700-€12,300 in government’s recent report.
Asylum Seekers and Roma women – Child Benefit restrictions
NWC is disappointed that the Habitual Residence Condition will still act as a barrier for Roma women to access child benefit. The payment is also not available to mothers in Direct Provision.
Violence Against Women
NWC has welcomed additional investment to tackle violence against women, however it is deeply regrettable that additional funding in this Budget will still not meet the number of domestic violence refuge accommodation units required under the Istanbul Convention. In addition, NWC is gravely concerned that government’s overall housing strategy will not address the systemic issues underpinning this crisis for women.
Budget 2023 committed to a €500 rent tax relief for 2022 and 2023. Given the extremely high cost of rent, this will do little to address affordability. Many women will not even be able to avail of this small support. The tax credit is not available to those receiving rent supports like Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). Around three fifths of those in receipt of HAP are women.
Funding of €20m is allocated in 2023 for the delivery of Traveller-specific accommodation. However, there was no specific mention of funding for a statutory Traveller Agency with powers to approve and enforce Local Authority accommodation.
Budget 2023 did deliver a number of one-off measures to help people with increasing energy costs. However, lone parent households, predominantly led by women, experience greater fuel poverty and eligibility was not extended to those on Working Family Payment which would have particularly benefitted lone parents.
Of the €1.26bn allocated to tax initiatives in Budget 2023, 67% of this was allocated to benefit higher rate taxpayers. Since women are more likely to be part time and low paid workers, it is likely that this measure will further entrench income inequalities experienced by women.
Find the full analysis here: https://www.nwci.ie/images/uploads/NWC_gender_analysis_Budget_2023.pdf
For more information, please contact Sinéad Nolan, NWC Communications and Social Media Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Women’s Council is the leading national representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland, founded in 1973. We have over 190 member groups and a large and growing community of individual supporters.
The ambition of the National Women’s Council is an Ireland where every woman enjoys true equality and no woman is left behind. This ambition shapes and informs our work, and, with our living values, how we work.
We are a movement-building organisation rooted in our membership, working on the whole island of Ireland. We are also part of the international movement to protect and advance women’s and girls’ rights. Our purpose is to lead action for the achievement of women’s and girls’ equality through mobilising, influencing, and building solidarity. Find out more on www.nwci.ie