Welfare keeps economy going, says Joan Burton (The Irish Times)
The ceiling on her department’s spend next year had been set at €610 million lower than this year. Savings as a result of measures already taken would begin to bear fruit next year, and so the “ask” was a cut of €440 million. There were also increasing “asks” being made by changing demographics. There were more pensioners who were also living longer, the Minister said.
The live register was slowly coming down – now at 13.6 per cent – but not in some of the communities worst affected by unemployment. While foreign investment in job creation was healthy, the types of jobs being created were not helping the communities worst-affected by unemployment, she said.
Ms Burton said fraud prevention measures, such as identity checks and biometric identity cards, were saving €700 million a year.
It’s not easy to draw a definite conclusion from the facts prevented about how much the better ID techniques are contributing to lower budget requests from the Minister for Social Protection. Foreign investment, job creation and the changing demographics of the retired portion of the population also influence the demands upon the Ministry, but better ID management certainly helps.