A bill to protect households in receipt of social welfare has been introduced to the Dáil today by Sin Féin’s spokesperson for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, John Brady.
The proposed bill would protect vulnerable households from the threat of poverty, and would remove any ambiguity regarding social welfare increases.
Following the introduction of the Social Welfare Commission Bill 2018, John Brady said “This Bill provides for the establishment of a Commission to examine the minimum income required by different household types in receipt of social welfare to develop a minimum essential standard of living for these households.
“The rationale for the establishment of such a Commission is twofold – to remove the annual political football around social welfare rate increases particularly around the State Pension and second, to ensure that all households in receipt of social welfare are protected from poverty and can meet an adequate standard of living.”
The teachta also explained that the bill would ensure that the commission makes recommendations to the Oireachtas regarding social welfare rates before the annual budget, and that departments would be compelled to carry out poverty impact assessments on any specific policy change prior to its implementation.
Brady explained that “The structure of the Commission is based on that of the Low Pay Commission and would consist of nine members including a Chairperson, all to be appointed by the Minister.
“The Commission would carefully examine the Minimum Essential Standard of Living as outlined by the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice, and use all available resources including welcoming submissions from organisations to aid it in its work.
“Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget launched this morning has allocated €480,000 to establish the Commission based on the same amount spent annually on the Low Pay Commission.
“If the Government are serious about tackling poverty and meeting their commitment to lift 95,000 children out of poverty by 2020 then the establishment of this Commission would be a sensible and practical move in achieving this.”