Hard Talk from Oxfam
Oxfam have issued a report on austerity in Ireland which states that the country will most probably experience a rise in inequality, poverty, and emigration.
The report stated that the austerity programmes; “bear a striking resemblance to the ruinous structural adjustment policies imposed on Latin America, South-East Asia, and sub-Sahara Africa in the 1980s and 1990s”.
It states in a dire warning that “left unchecked, these measures will undermine Europe’s social gains, creating divided countries and a divided continent, and entrenching poverty for a generation”.
Some Stated Statistics
- The report states that in 2011 there were some 120 million people in the EU were in the poverty trap and the figure could rise by a further 25 million.
- Women will be the hardest hit by austerity.
- The report projects an erosion of Trades Unions, collective bargaining, and workplace rights. This will further add to the already established trend in poverty among working people.
- Cuts to public services will result in people losing their jobs,
- At the same time voluntary institutions that support people in times of hardship will be weakened or even shut down through declining funding.
- It could take between 10 – 25 years for poverty to return to pre-2008 levels.
Some alternative strategies suggested by Oxfam;
- Invest in people and economic growth.
- Invest in public services.
- Strengthen institutional democracy.
- Tax fairly
The Oxfam report also suggested:
- That the EU needs to tackle unsustainable European public debt
- Address major flaws in the EU financial system
- That citizens of Europe ... need to increase their political engagement in order to influence government policy.
- We need to change course to avoid a lost European decade.
Oxfam’s report on Ireland says that although the programme for recovery is ahead of target, the austerity measures “have had a devastating impact on people already struggling with rising unemployment and levels of indebtedness”.
The report said that the poorest are hit hardest by the recession, with a “shocking array of welfare cuts and tax increases” being introduced since 2008 “that have driven more and more people into debt and poverty”.