Thursday, 30 May 2019

Questions (18)

Willie O'Dea


18. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason the new national action plan for social inclusion has not been published; the definitive date for its publication; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22985/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department is currently finalising a new Roadmap for Social Inclusion for the period 2019-2025.  It will have a ‘whole of government’ approach which recognises the shared responsibility across Government to achieve improved outcomes for the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society.

I am bringing the Roadmap for Social Inclusion to Government very soon and expect to publish it in the next few weeks.  This roadmap will state a clear ambition to achieve the long-held, but as yet unrealised, target of reducing consistent poverty to 2% and aspires to go beyond that by making Ireland the most socially inclusive State in the EU.  Towards this end, it sets a number of specific targets to be achieved across various sectors of Government and identifies commitments to be delivered by each Department with a timeline for delivery.

It has taken some time to develop this roadmap - both to ensure that it is based off the most recent data and to enable stakeholders to contribute through a focused consultation process. The most up to date data from the 2017 Survey on Income and Living Conditions was released by CSO in mid-December 2018.  This data was examined and is being incorporated into the draft document which is now the subject of consultations with other departments.  The outline approach which was developed following a prolonged consultation process was also discussed at the Social Inclusion Forum hosted by my Department last week and feedback from that forum will also be incorporated into the final draft.

With regard to the SILC data, this shows that the consistent poverty rate has decreased to 6.7% in 2017, from a high of 9% in 2013 and from 8.2% in 2016.  The percentage of the population experiencing deprivation also significantly decreased, falling to 18.8% from a high of over 30% in 2013 and 21% in 2016.  These figures, which do not include the full-year impact of budget changes in 2017 nor any impact from the 2018 and 2019 changes, demonstrate that the Government’s approach to tackling poverty through the provision of income supports, access to quality services and supports for people in taking up employment is working.

It is my intention that the Roadmap will be published at the earliest opportunity, most likely during June.