November 25, 2020
Claire Kerrane TD introduces legislation to protect social welfare recipients

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection Claire Kerrane TD has this afternoon introduced a piece of legislation that would be transformative for social welfare recipients.

The Social Welfare Commission Bill would establish a Commission to research and make recommendations annually ahead of the Budget to ensure social welfare rates are adequate by providing a minimum essential standard of living and protection from poverty.

Speaking while introducing the Bill in the Dáil, Teachta Kerrane said:

“This Bill, if enacted would be transformative for some of our most vulnerable citizens, including Carers, Persons with a Disability, Lone Parents, Widows and Jobseekers, as well as young Jobseekers currently living on €112 per week.

“The Bill seeks the establishment of a Social Welfare Commission which would examine the Minimum Essential Standard of Living for various household types who rely on social welfare supports and make recommendations to Government annually ahead of the Budget. This would remove the political football out of decisions made on increases in social welfare payments at Budget time.

“By setting rates at the Minimum Essential Standard of Living, we are ensuring that people are protected from poverty. Currently, weekly social welfare payments are set below the poverty line. This needs to change.

“The Bill allows includes provision for a Poverty Impact Assessment on Government policy decisions before they are implemented.

“One of the first lessons learned from a Social Protection perspective when Covid hit was the fact that nobody who lost their job could live on €203 per week. Yet, this is the maximum rate for many social welfare payments.

“The current rates also fail to recognise the cost of disability and care giving.

“At the very least what I am seeking in introducing this Bill is that social welfare payments are adequate and that recipients are protected from poverty. These are very basic aims that any social protection system should meet.”

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