Written Answers. - Social Welfare Payments.

Austin Deasy

Question:

317 Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the reason increases in social welfare are not back-dated to the day of the budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5807/01]

Social welfare improvements are normally implemented a number of months after the budget day announcements. This is necessary as a lead in time of a number of months is required in order to make the required legislative and administrative changes necessary to implement the budget increases, that is, enactment of the necessary social welfare legislation, printing of pension books, etc.

The question of back-dating increases in social welfare payments to the date of the budget would be a matter to be decided in a budgetary context having regard to the available resources and in the light of the Government's other commitments.

However, I have already announced that from 2002 all increases in weekly social welfare rates will coincide with the start of the tax year in early January. This will mean that the increases in social welfare weekly rates will have been brought forward by 23 weeks – over five months – since the Government came into office.

Question No. 318 answered with Question No. 316.