Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (32, 33)

Martin Ferris

Question:

35 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Social Protection if she has received any interim report from the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare on her proposal announced and paused last December to cut disability allowance for young persons; and her plans, if any, to re-table this proposal. [34955/12]

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Peadar Tóibín

Question:

37 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the report commissioned by Mandate Trade Union, Decent Work; the impact of recession on low paid workers and if she will request the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare to give specific attention to the issue of precarious work as recommended by that report. [34938/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 35 and 37 together.

Creating jobs and tackling poverty are two of the key challenges that Ireland now faces. It is essential that our tax and social protection systems play their part in addressing these challenges. To this end, I established an Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare last year, with the aim of harnessing expert opinion and experience to examine a number of specific issues. These include making cost-effective proposals for improving employment incentives and achieving better poverty outcomes, particularly child poverty outcomes.

The Group's overall method of working is based on producing modular reports on the priority areas identified in the terms of reference. In their deliberations the Group has been tasked to take into account existing analysis, research and submissions. Where possible, the aim is to provide recommendations that can be acted upon in time for the annual budget, estimates and legislative cycle and to allow the Government to best address its commitments under the EU-IMF Programme of Financial Support.

Among the issues that the Advisory Group is currently progressing is the Budget 2012 proposals concerning disability allowance and domiciliary care allowance. The Group's terms of reference also provides for the examination of the issue of working age income supports, which will be considered as part of its future programme of work.

I am conscious that the Budget 2012 measures concerning disability allowance and domiciliary care allowance gave rise to concerns about the impact on families of people with disabilities, most notably in the case of families of children and young adults with profound disabilities, and these very real concerns are being taken into account by the Advisory Group. The Group will revert to me with its report on these proposals once their examination is completed. At that stage, I, together with my Government colleagues, will reflect carefully on the findings of the Advisory Group.

The following additional information was provided under Standing Order 40A.

As stated in the reply, creating jobs and tackling poverty are two of the key challenges that Ireland now faces. It is essential that our tax and social protection systems play their part in addressing these challenges. To this end, I established an Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare last year, with the aim of harnessing expert opinion and experience to examine a number of specific issues. These include making cost-effective proposals for improving employment incentives and achieving better poverty outcomes, particularly child poverty outcomes.

The group's overall method of working is based on producing modular reports on the priority areas identified in the terms of reference. In their deliberations the group has been tasked to take into account existing analysis, research and submissions and, in this regard, I consider that the report referred to by the Deputy may help inform the group's secretariat. I do not intend to refer specifically to the issue of precarious work to the group as I consider that the terms of reference are sufficiently broad for this issue to be considered in the context of the group's deliberation. Where possible, the aim is to provide recommendations that can be acted upon in time for the annual budget, Estimates and legislative cycle and to allow the Government to best address its commitments under the EU-IMF Programme of Financial Support.

Among the issues that the advisory group is currently progressing is the Budget 2012 proposals concerning disability allowance and domiciliary care allowance. The group's terms of reference also provide for the examination of the issue of working age income supports, which will be considered as part of its future programme of work.