Thursday, 17 October 2019

Questions (313)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

313. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the role in the pre-budget period of the social inclusion unit; if the unit is consulted as part of the budget process; if an assessment is carried out by the unit in advance of the impact of budget proposals on poverty levels; and the reason budget 2020 was not poverty proofed. [42859/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department undertakes ex-ante and ex-post social impact assessments of the main welfare and direct tax budgetary policies.  These assessments are carried out by the Social Inclusion Division in advance of and after the Budget.   

The Social Impact Assessment (SIA) is an evidence-based methodology which estimates the likely distributive effects of policies on household incomes, families and poverty.  The analysis is generated through the ESRI’s tax/benefit micro-simulation model, SWITCH.  The model simulates the impact of budgetary changes on a representative sample of households from the CSO Survey on Income and Living Conditions.  It should be noted that certain items  which will have an impact on poverty cannot be assessed by the model at present, such as the school meals programme.

The main analysis of potential policy measures is undertaken in the context of the Tax Strategy Group papers.  The Social Protection Package papers include social impact assessments of a range of illustrative social welfare budgetary measures, including PRSI measures.  These papers are published on the Department of Finance’s website at http://finance.gov.ie/what-we-do/tax-policy/tax-strategy-group.  Social impact assessments using SWITCH are also used in relation to potential policy options and to assess the cumulative impact of budgetary policies.

My Department publishes the social impact assessment of welfare and direct tax budgetary measures shortly after the Budget is agreed. This is to inform public understanding on the cumulative effect of budgetary welfare and tax policies on income distribution and social equality. Previously published assessments of Budgets 2013 to 2019 are available on the Department’s website at: www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Examples-.aspx.