My department is currently finalising the new Social Inclusion Strategy for the period 2019 – 2025. It will have a ‘whole of government’ approach which recognises the shared responsibility across Government to achieve improved outcomes for the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society.
The most up to date poverty data from the 2017 Survey on Income and Living Conditions was released by CSO in mid-December 2018. This data was examined and is being incorporated into the draft document which is now the subject of consultations with other departments. The data showed that the consistent poverty rate had decreased to 6.7% in, from 8.2% in 2016. The percentage of the population experiencing deprivation also significantly decreased, falling to 18.8% from the 2016 figure of 21%. These figures demonstrate that the Government’s approach to tackling poverty through the provision of income supports, access to quality services and supports for people in taking up employment is working.
My department is currently in discussions with other Government departments to agree the final text of the new strategy. It is my intention that it will be published at the earliest opportunity, most likely in Q2 2019.