Minister Burton meets with over 30 voluntary and community groups in advance of Budget 2014


Print page

Tells Forum that welfare prevents poverty, stabilises economy

The Department of Social Protection's €20.24 billion budget plays a crucial role both in preventing poverty and stabilising the economy, the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, has said today (Friday, 5th July, 2013).

Minister Burton said that while welfare's importance as a safety net was well understood, it was often missed that welfare payments were spent in shops and on services across the country.

The Minister was speaking at the Pre-Budget Forum she hosted for over 30 voluntary and community groups in Dublin Castle this morning.

The purpose of the annual Forum is to provide these organisations with an opportunity to have an input into the Budget process. The Forum enables the organisations to discuss their views on the Budget with the Minister and senior Departmental officials.

This year's Forum was chaired by a moderator, Ms Olivia O'Leary, and included a number of workshops on specific themes, such as children and families, illness and disability, and poverty and social inclusion.

Addressing the Forum, Minister Burton stressed that no decisions had been made in relation to measures for Budget 2014, and that the views heard at the Forum would be relayed to Government prior to any such decisions being taken.

The Minister said that, since 2009, the Department had implemented cost-saving measures which had cumulatively reduced expenditure by more than €3 billion. At the same time, the number of people in receipt of a weekly welfare payment increased from 1.209 million at the end of 2008 to 1.476 million now – an increase of approximately 267,000.

She cited the dual importance of the welfare spend – both in preventing poverty and stabilising the economy.

"The most important effect of welfare payments is that they reduce poverty levels. Research has demonstrated that social transfers reduce the at-risk-of-poverty levels in Ireland by over 60% - the most effective performance in the EU," Minister Burton said.

"The second impact of our expenditure – sometimes forgotten - is the contribution it is making to the stabilising the economy. The spend of my Department puts money in the tills of almost every business and shop in the State in a very immediate way as our customers spend their benefits and pensions each week, thereby maintaining domestic employment and economic activity.

"The necessity to reduce overall Government current expenditure must be balanced against the primary redistributive role of the social protection system. It is my firm belief that the options chosen to reduce overall expenditure can only be considered having regard to potential poverty impacts and the effect on demand in the wider economy."

This year, the Department of Social Protection will spend over €20.24 billion on its entire range of schemes, services, and administration. At the end of May, there were 1.476 million people receiving a weekly payment in respect of 2.283 million beneficiaries. In addition, some 614,000 families were in receipt of the monthly Child Benefit payment.

While the Minister stated that no decisions had been made in relation to the Budget, she reiterated the importance of protecting core social welfare weekly payments.  "I have protected core rates in successive Budgets in order to protect the most vulnerable in society from the worst effects of the economic crisis. Protecting core weekly rates makes absolute sense not alone from a poverty prevention perspective but also for the economy generally at a time when we need to boost consumer confidence."

Minister Burton said her focus in Budget 2014 would be to continue the wide-ranging reforms that have ensured the services offered by her Department provide both a safety net but also a springboard back to work – through both income supports and employment supports.

"In the forthcoming Budget, the Department of Social Protection will be expected to play its part in keeping Government finances on the path to recovery. However, this year again, I will be making every effort to ensure that those dependent on social welfare payments are not marginalised while also ensuring that those who are in work and paying PRSI are better off working than claiming social welfare."

PRESS RERLEASE ENDS

Note for Editors

List of voluntary and community groups who are invited to attend today's Pre-Budget Forum

  • Active Retirement Ireland
  • Age Action Ireland
  • Alone
  • Barnardos
  • Care Alliance Ireland
  • Carers Association
  • Centre for Independent Living
  • Children's Rights Alliance
  • Congress Centres Network (ICTU)
  • Crosscare
  • Cúram
  • Disability Federation of Ireland
  • End Child Poverty Coalition
  • European Anti Poverty Network
  • FLAC
  • Focus Ireland
  • Healthy Food for All
  • Inclusion Ireland
  • Irish Council for Social Housing
  • Irish Countrywomen's Association
  • Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed
  • Irish Senior Citizens Parliament
  • National Association of Widows in Ireland
  • National Federation of Pensioners Associations
  • National Women's Council of Ireland
  • One Family
  • OPEN
  • Pavee Point
  • Retired Workers Committee
  • St. Vincent de Paul
  • Simon Community
  • Social Justice Ireland
  • The Wheel
  • Threshold
  • TREOIR
  • Trustus We Care
  • Unmarried and Separated Families Of Ireland
  • Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice
  • Women's Aid

 

List of Tables that follow:
Table 1: Department of Social Protection Expenditure by Programme – Revised Estimate, 2013 (REV)
Table 2: Social Welfare Expenditure, 2002 to 2013
Table 3: Recipients & Beneficiaries of Primary Weekly Social Welfare Payments, 2002 to 2013
Table 4: Savings Target and Expenditure Reductions

 

Table 1: Department of Social Protection Expenditure by Programme – Revised Estimate, 2013 (REV).

Programme

2013 REV Expenditure €million

% of Total Expenditure

  1. Administration

580

2.9%

  1. Pensions (Including State Contributory and Non-Contributory Pensions and Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partners Contributory Pension)

6,469

32%

  1. Working Age – Income Supports (Including Jobseeker's Allowance, One Parent Family Payment, Farm Assist, Maternity Benefit, Basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance etc.)

5,493

27.1%

  1. Working Age – Employment Supports (Including Community Employment Programme, Rural Social Scheme, TÚS, Back to Work Allowance, Back to Education Allowance etc.)

1,056

5.2%

  1. Illness, Disability and Carers (Including Disability Allowance, Illness Benefit, Carer's Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Disablement Benefit etc.)

3,328

16.4%

  1. Children (Child Benefit of €2 billion as well as other schemes such as Family Income Supplement, Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance, School Meals Scheme and Guardian's Payments)

2,251

11.1%

  1. Supplementary Payments, Agencies and Miscellaneous Services  
  • Rent Supplement
  • Mortgage Interest Supplement
  • Household Benefits
  • Free Travel
  • Fuel Allowance 

1,067

 

403
42
283
77
211

5.3%

Overall Total
Expenditure on Schemes, Services and Administration

 

20,243

 

100%

 

Table 2: Social Welfare Expenditure, 2002 to 2013

Year

Total Social Welfare Expenditure
€m

Index
of Expenditure

2002

9,517

100.0

2003

10,493

110.3

2004

11,291

118.6

2005

12,168

127.9

2006

13,586

142.8

2007

15,518

163.1

2008

17,809

187.1

2009

20,536

215.8

2010

20,850

219.1

2011

20,968

220.3

2012

20,727

217.8

2013 1

20,243

212.7

 

 

Table 3: Recipients & Beneficiaries of Primary Weekly Social Welfare Payments, 2002 to 2013

Year

Weekly Recipients

Weekly Beneficiaries 2

2002

938,971

1,496,714

2003

959,432

1,511,740

2004

957,732

1,463,921

2005

976, 613

1,469,106

2006

1,003,517

1,506,824

2007

1,060,327

1,577,463

2008

1,208,883

1,799,875

2009

1,379,206

2,076,256

2010

1,430,833

2,179,428

2011 3

1,467,129

2,248,284

2012

1,469,202

2,259,807

2013 4

1,475,913

2,283,127

Budget 2014
The Expenditure Report 2013 was published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in December 2012. It included the savings measures introduced in Budget 2013 (€391m net), their ongoing impact in 2014 and the quantum (€440m) of the new savings measures required in 2014.

 

 

Table 4: Savings Target and Expenditure Reductions

Savings measures identified by

2013 €m

2014 €m

Expenditure Report 2013

 

 

Savings measures introduced in 2013 and ongoing impact

391

453

New Savings remaining to be specified

 

440

Expenditure ceilings

20,243

19,633

ENDS

1 Provisional Outturn, Revised Estimate, 2013
2 This includes qualified adults and children.
3 2011 and 2012 data include schemes transferred to the Department of Social Protection from FAS  and CEGA, including Community Employment and Rural Social Scheme.
4 May 2013 Statistics

Last modified:05/07/2013
 

 Downloads