Foreword from the Minister
I welcome this publication of Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services for 2007. This is our 25th annual statistical report, which provides comprehensive statistical information on all programmes administered by the Department of Social and Family Affairs.
Ensuring that there is reliable data available on the services provided by the Department, as contained in this Report, is an important factor in the development and implementation of policies to enhance social inclusion and progress social cohesion.
Behind each and every one of these statistics is a real person or family, making it all the more important for us to see that delivering services is not just about numbers but about affecting the daily lives and wellbeing of all our citizens.
The supports provided by this Department are available to people with multi-faceted needs, covering a range of circumstances and at every stage of their lives from birth through to educational supports, assistance for those seeking jobs as well as those with disabilities and pensioners who have served this state for many decades.
Continuing to reflect the trend of recent years, social welfare programme expenditure increased to €15.5 billion in 2007, an increase of 14.2% over the previous year, demonstrating the Government's commitment to caring and supporting those less well off in our society. This level of investment reflects the desire to achieve real social progress and which, allied with a will to reform where necessary, displays how our social protection system is now framed to meet the challenges facing a changing society.
Statistics tell their own story and in 2007:
- Over 1 million people were in receipt of a weekly Social Welfare payment, which was paid in respect of 1.5 million beneficiaries;
- Expenditure on State Pensions increased by 18.3% to €3.9 billion. Payments were made to over 350,000 people in this area;
- Family Income Supplement was paid to 22,800 families, an increase of 4.7% on the previous year and benefiting over 47,500 children, 8.4% more than 2006. Expenditure on Family Income Supplement increased by 30.7% to €140 million;
- Expenditure on Carer's Allowance and Carer's Benefit increased by 26.9% and 61.2% respectively. The numbers in receipt of a Carer's payment increased from 29,121 to 35,147, an increase of 20.7%;
- 579,612 families received a monthly Child Benefit payment, which was paid in respect of 1,110,715 children. Expenditure on Child Benefit increased by 8.6% to €2.2 billion.
Every one of the services provided by the Department is a core feature of our society, ensuring that supports are there for those who need them. Ensuring that we have accurate information is also vital to support evidence-based policy-making and enable the measurement of progress in these areas.
Ba mhaith liomsa mo bhuíochas a ghabháil le foireann na Roinne a chabhraíonn le muintir na tíre gach aon lá.
Mary Hanafin T.D.
Minister for Social and Family Affairs