New CSO Data Highlight Strong Performance Of Social Protection In Reducing At-Risk-Of-Poverty Rate

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New CSO Data Highlight Strong Performance Of
Social Protection System In Reducing At-Risk-Of-Poverty Rate


The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton T.D., has welcomed the publication today (21 January, 2015) of the Survey on Income and Living Conditions 2013 by the Central Statistics Office.

The Tánaiste said a very positive finding from today’s release is the reduction in the at-risk-of-poverty rate from 16.5% in 2012 to 15.2% in 2013. Central to this reduction is the enhanced role of social transfers in reducing the at-risk-of poverty rate from 38.4% (before all social transfers) to 15.2% after all social transfers. This represents a poverty reduction effect of 60.4%.

The Tánaiste said: “This shows how the Government has protected low income households. As a result, Ireland will remain among the best performing countries in the EU in reducing poverty through social transfers. This reflects the continuation of substantial investment in the social protection system and the maintenance of core weekly rates of welfare payments since this Government came into office.”

Noting the 2013 rate of consistent poverty of 8.2%, the Tánaiste reiterated the Government’s commitment to meeting the national social target for poverty reduction which is to reduce consistent poverty to 4% by 2016 and 2% or less by 2020.

The Tánaiste said: “I am confident that the actions of the Government to increase employment and to boost low and middle incomes will help to achieve the national poverty target.”

The Tánaiste noted the increase in the deprivation rate, which highlights the continuing impact of the economic crisis on household living standards – when the Government was continuing to tackle the grave financial problems it had inherited.

The Tánaiste said: “The greatest protection against poverty is having a job, and this is evident in the data, which shows the massive decline in consistent poverty if even one person in the household is in work. Thanks to the jobs-led recovery overseen by the Government, thousands of people are returning to work each month, which is critically important. In addition, the recovery, while still fragile, has allowed us to provide targeted spending increases to help all families and further protect the most vulnerable. We have increased Child Benefit for every family, partially restored the Christmas bonus, and increased the Living Alone allowance. In addition, we have introduced the Back to Work Family Dividend, a new scheme which will provide very significant financial assistance to families where a parent is returning to work. This will ensure that work pays and allow the families involved to build towards financial independence over time. This will be another crucial step in safeguarding against poverty.”

Since the introduction of the Pathways to Work strategy, which is overseen by the Department of Social Protection and assists those on the Live Register return to work, unemployment has fallen from a crisis peak of 15.1% to 10.6% now. In addition, 80,000 new jobs have been added to the economy since the Government launched its Action Plan for Jobs, overseen by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. The Action Plan for Jobs 2015 will introduce a range of reforms across Government to increase the momentum on job creation. Under Pathways to Work, meanwhile, the new JobPath employment programme will assist an estimated 115,000 long-term unemployed jobseekers return to work over its duration, while the Back to Work Family Dividend will provide significant financial assistance to parents returning to employment.

The Tánaiste concluded: “The economy is growing, unemployment is falling, and confidence is slowly returning. Today’s figures show there is still a long way to go to undo the very damaging effects of the greatest economic crisis in this country’s history. But the Government has completed the first phase of the recovery and we are now starting the second: the process of restoring living standards. This Government will deliver a social, as well as an economic recovery, to ensure that everyone - every family, every community, will benefit from the recovery.”



Note to Editors:

The Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) is an annual survey carried out by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of a representative sample of 4,900 households or 13,000 individuals in Ireland. The survey collects information on the income and living conditions of different households in Ireland, in order to derive indicators on poverty, deprivation and social exclusion. It is carried out in every EU country under EU legislation and commenced in Ireland in June 2003. The findings for 2013 can be found at:

Consistent poverty is the measure used to set the national social target for poverty reduction. It is the overlap of at-risk-of poverty (below 60% of median income) and basic deprivation (enforced lack of two or more basic necessities). The latest official figures show that the consistent poverty rate was 8.2% in 2013. The CSO state that this is not a statistically significant change from the 2012 rate of 7.7%.

The policy briefing and related documents on the National Social Target for Poverty Reductionare available at and

The research briefing and report on Social Transfers and Poverty Alleviation in Irelandare available at and

Pathways to Work complements the Action Plan for Jobs. The Action Plan is designed to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, jobs-rich economy, while Pathways aims to ensure that as many as possible of those newly created jobs go to people on the Live Register.

Last modified:21/01/2015