I get the impression at the National Economic Dialogue that certain politicians and officials think that organisations like SVP aren't living in the real world, and don't appreciate the importance of work in the economy and peoples' lives.
Our volunteers visit people in their homes every week. We have a reach into peoples' lives that is unsurpassed. We hear the stories of people struggling to pay rents; worried about being made homeless. And we do value the importance of work. However, there are many workers and their families in or close to poverty, due to low incomes, high rents, high childcare costs and other essential outgoings. Increased wages help, but for many they rely on Social Welfare supports like the Family Income Supplement because many employers simply don't pay enough.
In any event, income policy can't do all the heavy lifting - and this is the point I'm trying to make here in Dublin Castle today. Improving the quality and affordability of early childhood care and education will help make work pay - but it will also help children to break the cycle of disadvantage. For some policy makers, spending is a dirty word. But without spending, we won't be able to expand the economy, never mind meet our social needs