Written Answers. - Social Welfare Payments.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

810 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if, in the context of the forthcoming estimates and budget, he will provide an increase for old age pensioners sufficient to compensate for losses to date arising from inflation and prevent erosion of their basic income in the coming year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20739/00]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

812 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if he will make adequate compensatory allowance for recipients of unemployment assistance in view of the fact that inflation has seriously eroded increases in Budget 2000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20741/00]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

813 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if he will improve the level of disability payments in accordance with generally accepted requirements in view of the serious impact of inflation on such payments in the current year; if he will address this issue in the course of the forthcoming estimates and budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20742/00]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

814 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if he has satisfied himself that the increases in respect of social welfare payments in Budget 2000 have proven with the benefit of hindsight to be sufficient to counter inflationary trends; if he will address the issue in the forthcoming budget; if so, the extent to which he will do so; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20743/00]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

818 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if he will take steps to prevent the further erosion of the income of those dependent on various social welfare payments in the forthcoming year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20747/00]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

819 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if he is concerned at the degree to which widow's and widower's pensions have been eroded by various factors to date; if he will identify such factors; if he will set out proposals to counter the situation in the context of the forthcoming budget and estimates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20748/00]

It is proposed to take Questions Nos. 810, 812, 813, 814, 818 and 819 together.

I share the Deputy's concerns in relation to the impact of inflation on social welfare customers.

The higher than expected inflation has had the effect of reducing the value of this year's budget increases in social welfare payments. At the time of the budget it was estimated that inflation would be much lower, in the region of 3%, and the Government provided for social welfare increases well in excess of this. However, the recent rapid increase in inflation was not predicted and therefore, in next year's budget the Government will be taking account of the increased level of inflation in getting increases for 2001.

Question No. 811 taken with Question No. 130.

Questions Nos. 812, 813 and 814 taken with Question No. 810.