Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Questions (692)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

692. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the rate of material deprivation for lone parents here; the way in which it compares to the EU average; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52941/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The severe material deprivation rate is an indicator derived from Eurostat EU-SILC 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.

It is important to note, however, that there has been a steady reduction of the severe material deprivation rate for single parents in Ireland over the period from 2012 to 2018, and the rate has more than halved from its high point of 32.3% in 2013.  With the social welfare improvements in Budgets 2019 and 2020, this rate of reduction should continue to move closer in line with the EU average.

Budget 2020 raised the income disregard for one-parent family payment and jobseeker’s transition payment recipients to €165 per week with effect from January 2020 (the highest disregard level to date).  The weekly rates of the Qualified Child Allowance in 2020 also increased by €2 per week (from €34 to €36) for children under 12, and by €3 per week (€37 to €40) for children 12 and over.  This measure will benefit an estimated 370,000 children and will help to further tackle child poverty.

Across Budgets 2017 to 2020,  the Government increased maximum weekly welfare payments by €15 per week with proportionate increases for qualified adult dependents; introduced a new qualified child rate for children over 12 years of age and increased weekly qualified child rates by €6.20 for children under 12 and €10.60 for those over 12.  There were also increases in the income thresholds for the Working Family Payment.

It can take some time for the full impact of budgetary measures to be reflected in data from the Survey on Income and Living Conditions.  Given the continuing economic recovery and the measures introduced in recent Budgets, I expect to see the poverty data for 2019 and 2020, when they become available, to show further improvements over the 2018 outcomes.  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.

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

 -

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

EU-28

18.4%

21.6%

20.7%

19.2%

17.1%

15.7%

13.3%

12.7%

Ireland

23.3%

27.4%

32.3%

25.1%

24.4%

22.7%

17.9%

14.8%*

  Source: EU-SILC Data

* It should be noted that the 2018 figure for Ireland is provisional.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.