Thursday, 12 May 2022
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
268. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the research and data material that was used by her Department for the purposes of measuring child poverty; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23951/22]
269. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the research and data material that was used by her Department for the purposes of measuring child poverty in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23952/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 268 and 269 together.
The Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) is the official poverty data for Ireland. The most recent survey results in relation to the 2021 survey were published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on 6 May 2022.
It is welcome that the national rate of child poverty, which is based on consistent poverty, decreased significantly, from 7.2% in SILC 2020 to 5.2% in SILC 2021. There were also decreases in the At Risk of Poverty rate for children from 16.4% in 2020 to 13.6% in 2021, and the Basic Deprivation rate from 18.9% in 2020 to 17.0% in 2021.
Poverty data is not available at county level, only at a regional level. Data in relation to County Clare would be included in the data for the Southern region. However, child poverty data at regional level is not readily available on the CSO website. The issue of producing poverty statistics is a matter for the CSO.
Addressing child poverty is a Government priority. The Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020-2025 notes that no child in Ireland should live in poverty and that, where it happens due to adverse circumstances, available supports should ensure that the child and their family exit poverty as soon as is possible. The Roadmap highlights the importance of both income supports and access to services, particularly to basic essential services such as housing, health and education, in addressing poverty and social exclusion.
Budget 2022 included a range of measures to support families and children including increases to all core weekly payments and to the qualified child rates; an increase in the weekly income threshold for the Working Family Payment for all family sizes; an increase in the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance for older and younger children; and the extension of the Hot School Meals programme.