Wednesday, 10 June 1992
Dáil Éireann Debate
18. Mr. G. O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Social Welfare if in view of the fact that the majority of social welfare payments remain significantly below those recommended by the Commission on Social Welfare in 1986, the plans if any he has to introduce the commission on Social Welfare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. McCreevy): Under the Programme for Economic and Social Progress the Government is committed to the following: (a) to continue to protect social welfare rates against inflation; (b) to move by 1993 to the priority level of rates recommended by the Commission on Social Welfare, and (c) thereafter, to increase social welfare rates further and progressively, in accordance with the recommendations of the Commission on Social Welfare, as the resources of the economy grow.
In recent years, social welfare payments have more than kept pace with inflation. Long-term rates are generally above the priority rates recommended by the Commission on Social Welfare. The lowest short term rates have been increased substantially, by 11 per cent in 1991 and a further 6 per cent from the end of July this year.
This year's budget increases in social welfare payments represent additional expenditure of £140 million in a full year. It would cost a further £340 million annually to introduce, in full, the rates proposed by the Commission. It is clear that this can only be achieved in the context of further growth in the economy. I will continue to keep payment levels under review within the framework of the Commission's proposals, in the light of available resources.
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