Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (78)

Mary Lou McDonald


78. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Finance if his Department is utilising the SWITCH model in its development of gender budgeting processes to be implemented across all Departments. [34980/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

My Department, as well as the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Department of Health, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform represent the main stakeholders in the ESRI's Simulating Welfare and Income Tax Changes (SWITCH) model. The ESRI developed this tax and benefit micro simulation model in the 1990s and they now maintain it annually.

Officials from the Department of Finance regularly conduct analysis of the distributional impacts of tax changes using SWITCH along a number of dimensions, including gender, with these assessments feeding into the budget decision making process. This analytical capacity has been available to all model stakeholders since 2018 and now facilitates the development of the wider gender budgeting process.  The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection publishes an annual Social Impact Assessment, which includes an analysis of the distributional impact of Budget measures along the gender dimension. The most recent analysis found that women across all income quintiles benefitted, on average, more than men as a result of measures introduced in Budget 2019.

The Programme for Partnership Government commits the Government to “develop the process of budget and policy proofing as a means of advancing equality, reducing poverty and strengthening economic and social rights” and gender budgeting plays an important part in this. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform chairs an Equality Budgeting Expert Advisory Group, of which the Department of Finance is a member. The aim of the group is to develop gender budgeting in Ireland in line with best international standards.