I propose to take Questions Nos. 610 and 611 together.
The National Social Target for Poverty Reduction aims to reduce consistent poverty from the 2010 baseline of 6.3% to 2% or less by 2020. This was an ambitious target but one to which the Government has remained committed. Data from the CSO Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) show that consistent poverty rose sharply from the 2010 level, to a peak of 9.0% in 2013. However the most recent SILC data from 2018 show that this had reduced to 5.6%, down from the 2017 figure of 6.7%.
Using the CSO estimated population figure for 2018 (4.857m people), the 2018 consistent poverty rate of 5.6% equates to some 272,000 people. Between 2016 (when the rate was 8.3%) and 2018, over 118,000 people were lifted out of consistent poverty. This is a welcome and significant decrease. Nevertheless, a reduction of over 3.6 percentage points is required to meet the 2% target by 2020. Based on the 2018 estimated population figure, this equates to slightly less than 175,000 people.
While this remains a challenge, I expect the poverty data for 2019 and 2020, when they become available, to show further improvement over the 2018 outcomes in light of the continuing economic recovery and measures introduced in the most recent Budgets. I will continue to work with my Government colleagues to ensure that the economic recovery is experienced in all regions and by all families, households and individuals.