Éamon Ó Cuív, Minister for Social Protection has accused Social Justice Ireland of scaremongering in their statement issued in relation to the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014.
The Minister said: "They implied the Plan would reduce individual payments from my Department to working age groups by 31% between 2011 and 2014. This is utter nonsense.
"Planned savings in my Department over the coming years will be made in the first place from:
- New fraud control measures,
- Activation under the National Employment Action Plan,
- Reduced unemployment as a result of growth in the economy, and
- Structural changes to social welfare, that will over time, eliminate poverty traps and barriers to employment.
"If we can make substantial progress in these key areas, reductions in individual rates can be minimised over the period of the Plan.
"The Plan clearly outlines that after the forthcoming 2011 Budget, rate reductions will be the last option and will only arise if other savings do not materialise.
Intensive fraud control measures allied to the introduction next year of the Public Services Card and other programmes could save hundreds of millions of euro a year.
"Furthermore the net saving to the State for every ten thousand number reduction in people claiming jobseekers payments could save €120 million. When the extra PRSI income and tax income is added to this saving, the saving can become as high as €200m. A reduction therefore in the Live Register of 20,000 would realise savings of €400m.
"In addition the Government also announced in the Plan extra activation measures including extra places on schemes, the details of which will be given on Budget day.
"It is obvious therefore that the Social Justice Ireland's comment in their statement in relation to rate reductions is based on a total mis-representation of the Plan and I call on Social Justice Ireland to withdraw their comments," concluded the Minister.
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