The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) has welcomed the publication of the Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020-2025 and the target to reduce consistent poverty to 2% or less by 2025.
In 2018, 5.6% of the population or approximately 270,000 people were living in consistent poverty.
SVP Head of Social Justice, Dr. Tricia Keilthy said; “Ireland hasn’t had a national strategy to tackle poverty for over two years now, so we are pleased to see the publication of this Roadmap today.
Over the coming years, we will continue to advocate to ensure that measures to tackle poverty are a key priority.”
The Roadmap contains 22 targets and 66 commitments for various Government departments and intends to move beyond the traditional focus on income poverty.
“It is very positive that the Roadmap takes a whole of Government approach to tackling poverty and recognises that measures to reduce poverty cannot be limited to income alone. With rising living costs, access to quality services such as health, education, childcare and adequate housing are vital so people can get out and stay out of poverty.” said Dr. Keilthy
The Roadmap sets important objectives to benchmark the state pension by 2021 but contains very little details on its plans for other social welfare payments.
SVP have continually advocated that social welfare payments are set at a rate that lifts people out of poverty and provides them with a minimum standard of living.
Currently, most social welfare payments fall below this standard.
“Although improving access to services is critical, we are disappointed there is no firm commitment to benchmark social welfare payments against the cost of a minimum standard of living. Without an adequate income, people get locked into poverty as they don’t have the means to access opportunities or to fully participate in society.” she continued.
SVP will examine and analyse the Roadmap in more detail in the coming days and will continue to engage with the Department.
“The publication of the Roadmap is a significant step forward and we will continue to work with Government to ensure everyone has a decent standard of living. We know that eradicating poverty will require significant investment in supports and services that help break the long-term cycle of poverty, but making the right investments now will bring much greater longer-term social and economic benefits.” Dr. Keilthy concluded.