Tuesday, 30 May 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
55. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if, in regard to the commitment given in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, he will outline when it is intended to establish the working group to examine the adequacy of the social welfare payments for children and adults; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15025/00]
67. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if, in regard to the commitment given in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, he will outline when the working group on relative income poverty will be established; the proposed terms of reference of the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15024/00]
The Programme for Prosperity and Fairness contains a commitment to set up a working group, with an independent chairperson, to examine the issues of developing a benchmark for adequacy of adult and child social welfare payments, including the implications of adopting a specific approach to the ongoing up-rating or indexation of payments.
Following the recent ratification of the programme, the Department of the Taoiseach is in the process of finalising the composition, including the identification of an independent chairperson, and is in discussion with the social partners in this regard. Once an independent chairperson has been identified and agreed on, this working group will be convened. Once the working group is established, my Department will play a leading role in the deliberations of the group, in conjunction with other relevant Departments.
 The issues to be covered by the group are set out in the programme. These include relative income poverty, as well as the long-term economic, budgetary, PRSI, distributive and incentive issues. These are highly complex issues which will need careful study. The outcome of the work of the group will have a significant impact on future policy in this regard, and I look forward to receiving the results in due course.
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