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Social Welfare Payments

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 14 July 2022

Thursday, 14 July 2022

Questions (120, 139, 165)

Kieran O'Donnell

Question:

120. Deputy Kieran O'Donnell asked the Minister for Social Protection the measures that are being considered in the next budget to enhance and broaden social welfare payments including the fuel allowance and the working family payment given the increase in the cost-of-living; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34939/22]

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Mick Barry

Question:

139. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Social Protection if her Department has investigated the increases to welfare payments that will be required to keep pace with the increases in the cost-of-living as experienced by those on low incomes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34945/22]

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Christopher O'Sullivan

Question:

165. Deputy Christopher O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Social Protection her Department’s strategy to make sure that social protection payments are in line with an increased cost-of-living; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34927/22]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 120, 139 and 165 together.

Over the long term, Ireland’s social protection system has performed strongly in protecting our most vulnerable citizens.  In 2021, social transfers reduced the at-risk-of-poverty rate from 38.6% to 11.6%.  This represents a 70% reduction on the at-risk-of-poverty rate.  Ireland is consistently one of the best performing EU countries in reducing poverty through social transfers.

It is through this evidence-based approach that, over the past 10 years, budget measures have both exceeded inflation in that period and have also been targeted to support those most at risk of poverty.  This is evident in the recent results of the Survey on Income and Living Conditions which showed welcome reductions in the number of people at risk of poverty or deprivation.

Having said that, the Government is acutely aware of recent price increases and their impact on households who are dependent on social welfare.  For this reason, this Government did not await a further budget cycle to address these challenges but acted early.  Overall, the tax and spending measures we have introduced to ease the burden and provide support to those most in need have amounted to €2.4 billion.  

The Government continues to monitor the situation carefully in preparation for the Budget later this year.  I will be meeting a range of NGOs at the Department's pre-budget forum later this month and will listen carefully to the views expressed. 

This Government has provided timely, targeted support and I will continue to prioritise evidence-based measures aimed at supporting the most vulnerable in our society.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputies.

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