Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 8 Nov 1989

Vol. 392 No. 8

Written Answers. - Food Price Increases.


asked the Minister for Social Welfare if his attention has been drawn to the fact that increases in food prices were the major component in the rise in inflation in the last three months, with housing second, that this impinges most on poor families; and the proposals he has to respond to this.

In the three months to August 1989, the consumer price index increased by 1.4 per cent. Of that increase, food accounted for 0.6 percentage points and housing accounted for 0.3 percentage points. The increase in housing costs of 0.3 percentage points was largely due to the increase in mortgage interest which accounted for 0.26 percentage points.

In this year's Social Welfare Act, I introduced a variety of measures which gave low income families substantial increases in income. For example, a person on long-term unemployment assistance with a spouse and five children received an increase of £12.90 bringing their weekly payment, including child benefit to £145.90. As part of the social welfare package, the Government also tackled the problem faced by families of workers on low incomes through a special scheme of tax exemption, together with improvements in child benefit and family income supplement.

The Government are committed to improving the living standard of social welfare recipients and special increases will continue to be provided for those on the lowest payments, depending on the resources available.

In addition, if a person's income is too low to meet needs such as rent or mortgage interest, they may apply for a supplement under the supplementary welfare allowance which is administered by the health boards.

Changes in the Consumer Price Index which have occurred over the last year will be taken into account in the forthcoming budget.