Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Questions (406)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

406. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the rate of severe material deprivation for lone parent households here as measured by EUROSTAT in tabular form; the way in which this rate compares to the EU average; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30413/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The material deprivation rate is an indicator derived from Eurostat EU-SILC (Survey on Income and Living Conditions) data that expresses the inability to afford some items considered by most people to be desirable, or even necessary, to lead an adequate life. The indicator distinguishes between individuals who cannot afford a certain good or service, and those who do not have this good or service for another reason e.g. because they do not want or do not need it.

The indicator adopted by the Social Protection Committee of the European Commission measures the percentage of the population that cannot afford at least three of the following nine items:

1. to pay their rent, mortgage or utility bills;  

2. to keep their home adequately warm;

3. to face unexpected expenses;

4. to eat meat or proteins regularly;

5. to go on holiday;

6. a television set;

7. a washing machine;

8. a car; or

9. a telephone.

The severe material deprivation rate is defined as the enforced inability to pay for at least four of the above-mentioned items.

As the following table shows, the EU-SILC severe material deprivation figure for Irish single parents for 2017 was 17.9%.  It is important to note that there has been a steady reduction of the severe material deprivation rate for single parents in Ireland over the period from 2012 to 2017, and the rate has almost halved from its high point of 32.3% in 2013. With the social welfare improvements in Budgets 2018 and 2019, this rate of reduction should continue to bring it more in line with the EU average.

Budget 2019 raised the weekly rates of payment for working age schemes and also increased the income disregard for one-parent family payment and jobseeker’s transitional payment recipients to €150 per week with effect from 25/03/19 (the highest disregard level to date).  The weekly rates of the Qualified Child Allowance in 2019 also increased by €2.20 per week (from €31.80 to €34) for children under 12, and by €5.20 per week (from €31.80 to €37) for children of 12 and over.  This measure will benefit over 370,000 children and will help to further tackle child poverty.

With regard to increases introduced in Budget 2019 alone, for example, a lone parent working 15 hours per week at the National Minimum Wage is now better off by almost €1,000 per year.

The Department’s social impact assessments of the last five Budgets (2015 to 2019) are an indicator of the improvements over that time for lone parents. These show a cumulative increase of €43.75 in the average weekly household income of employed lone parents (and €45.00 for unemployed lone parents). This compares favourably with a weekly increase of €39.25 for the average household. 

Severe Material deprivation rate: household type - Single Person with dependent children

 

 2010

 2011

 2012

 2013

 2014

 2015

 2016

 2017

 EU-28

 17.1

 18.4

 21.6

 20.7

 19.2

 17.1

 15.7

 13.3

Ireland 

 12.8

 23.3

 27.4

 32.3

 25.1

 22.6

 23.2

 17.9

Source: EU-SILC Data

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.