Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Questions (403)

Willie O'Dea


403. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the target for child poverty; the number of children who would have to be lifted out of poverty for the target to be met within the timeframe set; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30410/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

In 2014, as part of the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People (Better Outcomes Brighter Futures) the Government set an ambitious and challenging child poverty target: to lift 70,000 children out of consistent poverty by 2020, a reduction of at least two-thirds on the 2011 level (or 107,000 children).  To achieve this target the Government undertook to adopt a multi-dimensional, whole-of-Government approach which would build on the life cycle approach employed in the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion (NAP inclusion) and be informed by the European Commission’s Recommendation on ‘Investing in children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage’, as part of the Social Investment Package.’

The 2017 SILC data indicates that there were 105,000 children in consistent poverty in 2017, a decrease of 25,000 children on 2016.  Budgets 2018 and 2019 included DEASP measures specifically aimed at supporting families on low incomes through raising income thresholds for the Working Family Payment, increasing qualified child rates, increasing earnings disregards for One Parent Family and Jobseeker Transition payments, and increasing the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.  These improved supports – along with increasing employment rates - are not reflected in the 2017 SILC data.  This would suggest that we can expect further reductions in the child poverty rates once the 2018 figures become available.

My Department is finalising the new social inclusion strategy which is aimed at addressing the challenge to overcoming poverty in Irish society, with a proposed six year timeframe covering the period 2019 – 2025. It will continue to 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.  The new strategy will be published in the coming weeks.