Thursday, 10 September 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
133. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the priorities brought forward by stakeholders at the recent pre-budget forum; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23129/20]
As part of the budgetary process, my Department organises a pre-Budget forum annually for community, voluntary, employee and employer representative organisations to discuss and debate policy issues and present their thoughts and proposals on the upcoming Budget to each other, to senior officials of the Department and to me.
This Forum offers a unique opportunity for the representatives attending to present their views on what they feel should be included and prioritised in the forthcoming budget.
Approximately 45 organisations were represented at this year's event, which took place in Dublin Castle on 30th July. Due to social distancing requirements as a result of Covid-19, this year's event was smaller than in previous years, with just one representative from each organisation invited. The format of the event was also changed, as it was not possible to facilitate workshops as had been the case in previous years.
In advance of the forum, the organisations were invited to outline their priorities for the forthcoming budget in the form of a pre-Budget submission. This year, the Department received over fifty detailed submissions from the organisations attending, as well as from those who were unable to attend on the day.
The submissions raised issues and outlined priorities across a broad range of areas which affect pensioners, lone parents, people with disabilities, carers, jobseekers and more. Many of these detailed submissions are available on the organisations' websites.
The options for the forthcoming Budget will be considered by the Government over the coming weeks and the pre-Budget forum, and the submissions received in advance, are an important part of the process.