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Mick Wallace Would #EU and High Representative @JosepBorrellF tolerate this behaviour of #Israel's from anyone else? Is Israel a… https://t.co/sNmsE5jKLH

To ask the Minister for Social Protection if she has equality proofed any budget cuts to her Department; if such an analysis will be made publicly available; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

- Mick Wallace.

For ORAL reply on Thursday, 17th October. 2013

REPLY

The Expenditure Report 2013 published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform last December provided for additional new expenditure reduction measures of €440 million to be achieved in 2014 in the Department of Social Protection budget.

Again this year I sought to minimise the impact of the necessary adjustments to welfare expenditure and to protect as far as possible key income supports.  This amount was lowered by Government to €226 million in new expenditure reductions announced yesterday.  An additional €30 million in savings will be made through additional fraud and control measures in 2014, while €34 million will be saved through increased efficiencies and lower than expected demand on some schemes, bringing the Department’s cumulative adjustment on social protection expenditure to €290 million.

I am all too aware that reductions of €226 million will still impact on, and cause difficulties for, some social welfare recipients.  However, the lower adjustment means I have protected the State Pension, Carer’s Allowance, Disability Allowance and all other weekly social welfare payments upon which people depend.

I have also protected crucial supplementary supports for pensioners, carers and people with disabilities, such as the Fuel Allowance, the Electricity/Gas Allowance, Free Travel, the Half-Rate Carer’s Allowance and the Respite Care Grant.

Child Benefit rates have also been protected in this Budget, and will remain a vital universal support for all families and all children.

As part of the Budgetary deliberative process, my Department has analysed, in so far as possible, the distributive and poverty impact of possible welfare changes to all welfare recipients including different family types, including those with children.

My Department is now preparing an analysis of the Budget 2014 tax and welfare packages.  This Social Impact Assessment will include an analysis of the distributive and poverty impacts of these changes on different family types as well as the impact on at risk of poverty levels.  Social impact assessment is an evidence-based methodology which uses a tax/welfare simulation model developed by the Economic and Social Research Institute to estimate the likely distributive effects of budgetary measures on income and social inequalities.  I will be examining the analysis when it is finalised and I will publish it in due course.

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