Foreword from the Minister
I welcome the publication of this 24th edition of the Annual Statistical Report of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. This important report provides comprehensive statistical information on all programmes administered by my Department.
The document illustrates my Department�s ongoing commitment to improving and developing services in tandem with, and as an integral part, of wider Government aims and objectives. Improved quality of life and opportunities for people of all ages are at the core of these aims and I am committed to the ongoing provision and development of our social service policies allied to our policies on education, housing, health and governance in order to make a real difference to the lives of our citizens.
Supports administered by this Department provide for the complex and multi-faceted needs of people at every stage of life. Continuing to reflect the trend of recent years and re-affirming the Government�s commitment to the welfare of all those in need of support, social welfare programme expenditure increased to �13.6 billion in 2006 - an increase of 11.7% over the previous year.
The main features of my Department�s activities in 2006 were:
- Over 1 million people were in receipt of a weekly Social Welfare payment, which was paid in respect of 1.5 million beneficiaries;
- Expenditure of Old Age (now State Pension) has increased by 11.3% to �3.3 billion. Payments were made to some 340,000 people in this area;
- Family Income Supplement was paid in respect of 21,800 families with 43,861 children, an increase of 24.9% on the previous year. Expenditure on Family Income Supplement increased by 48.5% to �107 million;
- Expenditure on Carer�s Allowance and Carer�s Benefit increased by 27.6% and 74.0% respectively. The numbers in receipt of a Carer�s payment increased from 25,837 to 29,121, an increase of 12.7%;
- 562,860 families received a monthly Child Benefit payment, which was paid in respect of 1,083,980 children. Expenditure on Child Benefit increased by 8.2% to �2.1 billion.
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to the staff throughout the Department for their continuing efforts in implementing the Government�s programme of social welfare protection and support.
Martin Cullen T.D.
Minister for Social Affairs