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Government's child poverty target could be reached while child poverty grows!

  1. The Government’s new child poverty target could be reached while child poverty continues to grow!
  2. No target set to reduce the numbers of ‘working poor’ - means major group continues to be ignored in practice.
  3. Ireland’s overall contribution to reaching the EU target could be achieved without any reduction in poverty in Ireland.
  4. Very disappointing overall target for poverty reduction set by Government.

Social Justice Ireland made the following comments on the Government's new poverty targets announced November 14, 2012

The Government’s new poverty target on children announced today could be achieved while child poverty continues to grow. This is a bizarre situation and is simply not acceptable. 

Likewise the failure to set a target to reduce the numbers of people with jobs who are living in poverty (i.e. the working poor) is also a major disappointment.  There are over 700,000 people at risk of poverty and Government’s failure to set an ambitious target shows a profound failure of leadership.

Ireland’s overall contribution to reaching the EU poverty target could be reached without any reduction in poverty in Ireland.  This could happen if 200,000 people currently in households not at risk of poverty but experiencing 2+ items of basic deprivation saw an improvement in their situation.  While they would benefit from such a development those living in poverty would be totally unaffected. To adopt such a target is just another extraordinary failure of Government ambition on reducing poverty in Ireland.

Key facts on poverty in Ireland today

Social Justice Ireland points out that a close analysis of the latest data published by the Central Statistics Office shows that:

-   The proportion of Ireland’s population at risk of poverty is now 15.8% up from 14.1% in one year. 

-   More than 220,000 children are now at risk of poverty up 37,000 in three years (19.5% of all children).

-   Income inequality continues to grow with the richest 20% of the population having 5.5 times the disposable income of those in the poorest 20%.

-   Even though the poverty line has fallen by more than 10% in a single year, the risk of poverty among the whole population grew from 14.1% to 15.8% in a single year.

-   More than one in six (17.3%) of all those at risk of poverty has a job.

-   The social welfare system plays a critically important role in reducing poverty. Without social welfare payments 51% of the population would be at risk of poverty.

Government’s Poverty Targets announced November 14, 2012

The following are the poverty targets announced by Government on November 14, 2012

-   The national social target for poverty reduction is to reduce consistent poverty to 4 per cent by 2016 (interim target) and to 2 per cent or less by 2020, from the 2010 baseline rate of 6.2 per cent.

-   Ireland’s contribution to the EU poverty target is to lift a minimum of 200,000 people out of the risk of poverty or exclusion by 2020 from the 2010 baseline.

- This reduction will be sperad across the three indicators of consistent poverty, at-risk-of-poverty and basic deprivation.

-   There will be a new national sub-target for the reduction of child poverty, to reduce the differential in the rate of consistent poverty between children and adults.

-   There will be a new national sub-target for the reduction of poverty in jobless households, to reduce the concentration of the population in consistent poverty in these households.

-   There will be two additional indicators to monitor progress towards the target:

 (a) ‘vulnerable to consistent poverty’ (the population experiencing basic deprivation and having an income between 60 and 70 per cent of the median)

 (b) ‘absolute poverty’ (individuals falling below the 60 per cent median at-risk-of-poverty threshold anchored at 2010 values).

-   The implementation of the target will be strengthened by:

 (a) incorporating poverty impact assessment as part of an integrated social impact assessment

(b) producing an annual monitoring report on progress towards the target with input from stakeholders.

Social Justice Ireland welcomes the proposals to develop an integrated social impact assessment and to produce an annual monitoring report with input from stakeholders.

The full text of the Government's National Social Target for Poverty Reduction may be downloaded below