Tánaiste addresses Social Inclusion Forum 2015


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Reduction in the at-risk-of-poverty rate is shown at the 2015 Social Inclusion Forum

The Government-driven economic and employment recovery has seen the at-risk-of-poverty rate fall, Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D., said today (25 March 2015).

Speaking at the 2015 Social Inclusion Forum, the Tánaiste noted that the latest Social Inclusion Monitor, which reports on progress towards the national social target for poverty reduction, shows the at-risk-of-poverty rate at its lowest level since 2010. Ireland continues to have one of the best-performing social protection systems in the EU in terms of reducing poverty through social transfers.

The Tánaiste said: "The Government is committed to getting people back to work, as access to the labour market is the key to tackling poverty. Through Pathways to Work and the Action Plan on Jobs, the Government is putting people into real jobs. The standardised unemployment rate now stands at 10.1%, down from a crisis peak of 15.1%. While unemployment is still far too high, we are moving in the right direction."

The Social Inclusion Forum was held in the Croke Park Conference Centre which was convened by the Social Inclusion Division of the Department of Social Protection with the assistance of the Community Workers Co operative (CWC) and the European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland (EAPN).

This Forum is part of the institutional framework put in place by the Government to support the development of the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016. It provides an opportunity for wider public consultation and discussion on social inclusion issues, particularly with people experiencing poverty and social exclusion and the groups that work with them. The theme of this year's SIF is Social Policy Innovation for Social Inclusion. Social innovation is part of the social investment package and must be embedded in policy making and connected to social priorities.

The Tánaiste added, "In 2015 we introduced the Back to Work Family Dividend to further support unemployed families, especially those furthest from the labour market, to take up employment. The Government committed a further €96 million for children, including an increase of €5 per month in child benefit, which I intend to increase again in Budget 2016. An additional €2 million on the school meals programme. Altogether, the Department of Social Protection will spend €3 billion in providing 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."

"The Government is also rolling out the Area Based Childhood programme which will provide additional investment in prevention and early intervention services for children and their families in the 13 most disadvantaged areas in the country."

"The Department of Social Protection, which is responsible for the welfare component of the Budget, has recently published the social impact assessment of the main welfare and tax measures for 2015. It found that for the first time since the economic crisis, welfare and income tax policy will result in an increase in average household incomes of 0.7 per cent (equivalent of almost €6 per week)."

The annual Social Inclusion Forum is part of the institutional structures put in place to underpin the implementation, monitoring and on-going development of the Government's social inclusion agenda. The Forum, an all-day event held in Croke Park Conference Centre was well attend by Government Officials, Community and Voluntary Organisations and people experiencing poverty in relation to the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion.

PRESS RELEASE ENDS

Note for Editors

The main conference documents and speaker presentations will be available online after the event. It will be possible to download copies of the report and presentations from www.welfare.ie and www.socialinclusion.ie

Social Inclusion Division
The role of the Social Inclusion Division is to support the Minister and Government in developing and implementing Government strategies for preventing, reducing and ultimately eliminating poverty and social exclusion. The Division also promotes greater social inclusion and social cohesion in collaboration with other stakeholders including, in particular, people experiencing poverty.

The European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland (EAPN Ireland)
The European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland is a network of groups and individuals working against poverty. EAPN Ireland is the Irish link to the European Anti-Poverty Network which brings together civil society organisations from all over the European Union in order to put the fight against poverty at the top of the EU, national and local agenda.

The Community Worker's Co-operative (CWC)
Established in 1981, the Community Worker's Co-operative is a national membership organisation that seeks to promote quality community work as a means of addressing poverty, social exclusion and inequality, and contributing to the creation of a more just, sustainable and equal society.

Last modified:25/03/2015