Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Public Expenditure Policy
151. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his Department has undertaken any cross-cutting work on the operation of means tests across Government and, in particular, the fairness and appropriateness of the diverse approaches. [2208/23]
Means assessments are used in many schemes across Government Departments, which are tasked with providing support to households, including schemes in the areas of Social Protection, Health, Housing and Education. Means testing facilitates the appropriate targeting of assistance provided by the State, ensuring those in need receive support and that state resources are efficiently and effectively allocated. They target limited resources at those most in need with the eligible means applied for different supports varying depending on the specifics of each policy area. The rationale of different interventions, and the groups which supports are aimed at helping, tends to vary significantly across schemes and policy areas. As such, individual line Departments have responsibility for determining and operating means tests for the schemes they have responsibility.
The Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform has not finalised or published any cross-cutting work on the fairness and appropriateness of means tests as the responsibility for determining the appropriate means test in each case rests with the relevant line departments. Changes to means testing policy are typically considered by the relevant Ministers as new measures are part of the annual Budget process and are considered alongside other priorities in light of the available resources.