Foreword from the Minister
I welcome this publication of Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services for 2008. This 26th edition of the Annual Statistical Report of the Department of Social and Family Affairs provides comprehensive statistical information on all programmes administered by my Department.
Accurate information is vital to support evidence-based policy making and enable the measurement of progress in these areas. Reliable data on outputs and trends as contained in this Report are invaluable elements in the development and implementation of policies to build social inclusion and progress social cohesion.
Supports administered by this Department provide for the complex and multi-faceted needs of people at every stage of life. 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 particularly in these challenging times.
This report shows that social welfare expenditure increased to over €17.8 billion in 2008, an increase of almost 15% on the previous year. This funding provided supports to children and families, people of working age, carers and people with disabilities as well as retired and older people. The increasing level of investment reflects the desire to achieve real social progress as well as meet the challenges facing a changing society.
Statistics tell their own story and in 2008:
Over 1.2 million people were in receipt of a weekly Social Welfare payment, which was paid in respect of 1.8 million beneficiaries;
There was over €5.3 billion spent on supports for people of working age, an increase of almost 25% on the previous year. Within this, expenditure on Jobseekers supports increased by 48% rising to €2.1 billion.
Expenditure on State Pensions increased by 10.9% to €4.3 billion. Payments were made to over 364,000 people in this area.
596,108 families received a monthly Child Benefi t payment, which was paid in respect of 1,141,938 children. Expenditure on Child Benefi t increased by 10.0% to €2.5 billion.
Family Income Supplement was paid to 27,798 families, an increase 21.8% on the previous year and benefiting over 58,000 children, 22.1% more than 2007. Expenditure on Family Income Supplement increased by 21.6% to €170 million;
Expenditure on Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Benefi t increased by 24.6% and 25.2% respectively. The numbers in receipt of a Carer’s payment increased from 35,147 to 45,818, an increase of 30.4%;
This report illustrates and charts the progress being made in improving and developing services, in tandem with wider Government aims and objectives, which have at their core the delivery of improved quality of life and opportunities to people of all ages. Every one of the services provided daily by the almost 5,000 staff of the Department is a core feature of our society, ensuring that supports are there for those who need them.
Ba mhaith liomsa mo bhuíochas a ghabháil le foireann na Roinne a chabhraíonn le muintir na tíre gach aon lá.
Mary Hanafi n T.D. Minister for Social and Family Affairs