Question No: 35 Ref No: 27968-15
To the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the extent to which she continues to monitor the subject of child poverty and the number of families affected; the extent to which specific assistance continues to be diverted towards such families; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Bernard J. Durkan.
* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 8th July, 2015.
R E P L Y
Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Joan Burton T.D):
In 2014, the Government agreed a child poverty target in Better Outcomes, Better Futures, the national policy framework for children and young people. The target is to lift over 70,000 children (aged 0-17 years) out of consistent poverty by 2020, a reduction of at least two-thirds on the 2011 level.
The Social Inclusion Monitor, published by the Department of Social Protection, reports on progress towards the child poverty target, by providing regular, timely and accessible updates on key national indicators. The Monitor is primarily based on statistics from the annual Central Statistics Office Survey of Income and Living Conditions (SILC), the official data source for poverty indicators.
The latest edition of the Social Inclusion Monitor, based on 2013 SILC data, reports that 138,000 children were in consistent poverty, an increase of 23,000 children on 2012.
Overall, children have a consistent poverty rate of 11.7 per cent, compared to 7 per cent for adults. The consistent poverty rate for individuals in households with children is 10.8 per cent, compared to 4.7 per cent for those in non-child households. Among households with children, lone parent families have the highest rate of consistent poverty, while two adult families have the lowest rate.
The at-risk-of-poverty rate for children was 17.9 per cent in 2013. Social transfers (including welfare payments and child benefit) lift almost a quarter of children out of the at-risk-of-poverty. This represents a poverty reduction effect from social transfers of 60 per cent.
The Department of Social Protection provides income support for families through child benefit, qualified child increases for welfare recipients, family income supplement and the back to school clothing and footwear allowance, amounting to €3 billion in 2014. In Budget 2015, the Government committed a further €96 million for children, including an increase of €5 per month in child benefit and the introduction of the back to work family dividend.
This reflects the Government commitment to ensure that low and middle-income families benefit from the economic recovery and to assist families in moving from welfare to work.