CIB Pre-Budget Submission 2022
Addressing Citizens’ Concerns on Adequacy of Income, Debt and Money Advice
The Citizens Information Board (CIB) has presented its Pre-Budget Submission “Addressing Citizens’ Concerns on Adequacy of Income, Debt and Money Advice” to the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe and the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys. It comes at a time of significant social and economic change for the Irish economy. The submission highlights concerns over adequate income levels and the critical need for available and affordable quality public services. These concerns arise following the queries received by our funded services (Citizens Information and the Money Advice and Budgeting Service) who deal directly with the public.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected many people. The submission argues that the lessons from the pandemic need to be built upon, with sustained investment to combat poverty and inequalities. It places a focus on individuals and families who are experiencing particular pressures and ‘pinch’ points.
Some of the issues raised concern income supports, housing, families and children, illness, disability and caring, older people, medical cards, and inclusive public services. The submission made a series of recommendations:
- Supports for part-time and casual working patterns for those on jobseekers’ payments and those transitioning from Covid-19 payments
- supports for lone parents and qualified adults
- supports for non-married cohabiting couples, and for people receiving disability, illness and caring payments
- improvements in medical card eligibility and retention
- a pension solution for those involved in long-term care as well as clarity on pension entitlements
In terms of housing needs, recommendations focused on the rent limits for HAP, Local Authority Social Housing and the need to increase resources for the Housing Adaptation Grant.
Recommendations relating to families and children highlighted the need for universal childcare provision, improved activation policies, and family-friendly employment policies, as well as supports for those experiencing domestic violence.
Regarding the provision of more inclusive public services, the submission argued for the need to overcome communication barriers by providing digital supports, assistive technologies and staff training.
The Money Advice and Budgeting Service
MABS concerns and recommendations relate to debt, combating arrears and financial exclusion. The priority areas of concern highlighted by MABS for Budget 2022 cover a range of areas including the reform of Personal Insolvency legislation to improve access to Debt Relief Notices and the the need for a non-commercial Public Personal Insolvency Practitioner Service. MABS have also called for a review of the Code of Conduct of Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) and a broad-based financial inclusion strategy.
Further MABS recommendations include:
- the initiation of a national accommodation arrears management strategy
- support for renters to clear accumulated Covid-19-related arrears, and new measures for older or retired renters
- a reduction of the ‘top-up’ requirements in relation to HAP
- a review of eligibility thresholds for Mortgage to Rent