Dáil Éireann - Volume 632 - 01 March, 2007
Written Answers. - Anti-Poverty Strategy.
Mr. Deenihan Mr. Deenihan
Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the way he will ensure that the forthcoming National Action Plan for Social Inclusion is effectively implemented at local level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7997/07]
Mr. Wall Mr. Wall
Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the main features of the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion launched on 21 February 2007; the amount of funding that will be available under the plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7893/07]
Mr. Brennan Mr. Brennan
Mr. Brennan: I propose to take Questions Nos. 85 and 93 together.
In keeping with the approach taken in the original 1997 National Anti-Poverty Strategy, the new National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016 (NAPinclusion) adopts a coordinated approach across a range of policy areas. This  reflects the complex nature of poverty and social exclusion, which is multi-faceted in both its causes and effects. The Plan, building on the lifecycle approach adopted in the social partnership agreement, ‘Towards 2016’, and complemented by the social inclusion elements of the National Development Plan 2007-2013 (NDP), assesses the risks which individuals face at each stage of the lifecycle and the supports they need to meet these risks. The lifecycle stages are children, people of working age, older people and people with disabilities, and there is also a specific related section on supports for communities.
The overall poverty goal in the Plan is to reduce the number of those experiencing consistent poverty to between 2 per cent and 4 per cent by 2012, with the aim of eliminating consistent poverty by 2016. The Plan also identifies 12 high level strategic goals in certain key priority areas in order to mobilise resources to address long-standing and serious social deficits to achieve the overall objective of reducing consistent poverty. The high level goals, which also form part of the NDP, are accompanied by over 150 more detailed targets and actions across all stages of the lifecycle.
In order to ensure effective implementation of these targets and actions the NAPinclusion provides for a comprehensive and efficient monitoring and reporting process, the key element of which will be the preparation by the Office for Social Inclusion, based in my Department, of an annual Social Inclusion Report.
To ensure that the NAPinclusion is effectively implemented at a local level, the Local Government Social Inclusion Steering Group will be further developed to support the linkages between both the national and local level and will report on progress to the Cabinet Committee on Social Inclusion.
Local partnership structures will be strengthened over the lifetime of the Plan. Of key importance will be the need to promote linkages, cohesion and sharing of resources between local and community development agencies. Any new measures in this area will affirm the role of the County/City Development Boards as the key co-ordinating bodies for public service delivery at local level and the means of ensuring more joined-up delivery of social inclusion programmes on the ground.
Specific actions to strengthen implementation at local level include the extension of Social Inclusion Units to half of all city and county councils by the end of 2008. It also includes the enhancement and strengthening of the RAPID programme which provides direct State assistance towards improving quality of life and access to opportunities for communities in the most disadvantaged urban areas.
The resources for meeting most of the objectives for the NAPinclusion will be allocated in the  annual Budgetary context especially for the mainstream services such as social welfare, employment supports, education, health, care services and transport. There is a total investment of €50 billion provided for social inclusion measures in the NDP. This investment will fund many of the elements contained in the NAPinclusion. Investment under other areas of the NDP is also significant from a poverty and social inclusion perspective. These include over €21 billion for housing; €5 billion for investment in health services; €5 billion in schools development and €13 billion in higher education; €2 billion for sport and culture; €4.9 billion for targeted training and supports to groups outside the labour market; €2.9 billion for training and up skilling for people in employment, for improvements in the apprenticeship system and for the provision of opportunities for school leavers; and a €90 million investment in expanding the Rural Transport Initiative.
Taken together with the NDP and Towards 2016, I believe that the NAPinclusion represents a coherent and ambitious strategy that will make a decisive impact on poverty over the next 10 years greater than for any previous comparable period and that will deliver real improvements in living standards and well being for those most vulnerable in our society.
Dáil Éireann 632 Written Answers. Anti-Poverty Strategy.