Dáil Éireann - Volume 546 - 11 December, 2001

Written Answers. - Anti-Poverty Strategy.

59. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the progress made to date in the comprehensive review of the National Anti-Poverty Strategy in consultation with the social partners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31599/01]

Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): Under the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, we committed ourselves to revising and reviewing the national anti-poverty strategy. This process involved a review of the methodology underlying the strategy and a review and revision, where appropriate, of existing targets. New targets in the areas of child poverty, women's poverty, health, older people, housing and accommodation and ethnic groups were also considered.

A number of working groups, with social partner representation, were established to facilitate the review of targets, the development of indicators so that achievement of targets can be monitored over time, and the development of measures to meet those targets. The areas covered included housing and accommodation, health, employment and unemployment, education, rural poverty, urban disadvantage and income adequacy. A separate working group was also established to examine the issues in relation to benchmarking and indexation of social welfare payments.

The reports of each working group have been summarised by external consultants into an overall report and a steering committee, which includes the convenors from the working groups, representatives from relevant Departments, and representatives of the social partners and relevant agencies, has overseen the production of a NAPS framework document. This is currently being considered by the Cabinet Committee on Social Inclusion. I envisage that the revised strategy will be presented shortly to Government which will make final decisions in relation to the proposed targets.

[611] The review of the strategy allows for the consideration and inclusion of new themes that have emerged as national priorities over the past number of years. I am confident that the new strategy will provide the basis for further progress towards our goal of effectively eradicating poverty.