Dáil Éireann - Volume 627 - 14 November, 2006

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Code.

[776] Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs his priorities for the forthcoming Estimates, budget and Social Welfare Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37586/06]

  Mr. Brennan: The 2007 estimates for social welfare spending will be published on Thursday next and will represent the cost of implementing existing levels of services in the various programmes and services provided by my Department and its agencies.

Normally, improvements in social welfare schemes and services are introduced by way of the Budget. In this regard, I will be developing Budget proposals in relation to the various issues within my own area of responsibility, having regard to:

Government commitments relating to weekly rates of payment;

improving the position of our older people;

taking a decisive step forward towards the elimination of poverty, and especially child poverty.

the development of a programme of supports and opportunities for those parenting alone who, with their children, are in danger of falling into a cycle of deprivation and marginalisation.

improving income supports to, and recognition of carers who perform a valued and valuable service for the whole of society.

ensuring that this Budget reflects, and underpins with financial supports, the evolving new social agenda that I am pursuing and that has at its core a social welfare support system that is active instead of passive and that assists people to live with dignity and enables them to make a valuable contribution towards society, and

the views expressed at the recent Pre-Budget Forum at which 30 welfare organizations made submissions to me about the issues they wished to see pursued in the Budget.

Immediately following Budget Day, I will bring forward a Social Welfare Bill to provide for any increases in the weekly payment rates and any changes to the PRSI provisions or other amendments which would be scheduled to come into effect from January 2007.

Budget 2007 provisions requiring a legislative basis and scheduled to take effect after January 2007 and any other non-budget related legislative amendments will be provided for under a second [777] Bill to be progressed through the Oireachtas in early 2007.

Question No. 157 answered with Question No. 94.