The Live Register at the end of January 2010 contained a record 436,936 persons, an increase of over 175% in the four years since January 2007.
The Exchequer Statement for January 2010 indicates that tax revenue was 21.4% lower than in January 2009. Social Welfare voted expenditure was almost 16% higher and accounted for 22.9% of total voted Departmental expenditure (current and capital) in January 2010 compared to 17.2% in January 2009.
The Social Insurance Fund which is funded by PRSI deductions was anticipated last October to be insolvent by now. It incurred a deficit of €244.7 million in 2008 and was projected to rise to €4.4 billion by the end of this year.
One of these days the penny will drop that it is not possible to sustain galloping social welfare expenditure that completely ignores economic adversity and the consequential capacity to fund same.
For many the combined spend on social insurance and social assistance was of the order of 31% of Government revenue. Last year it was equivalent to 63% of Government revenue.
While the Consumer Price Index increased by 42.4 percentage points between 1998 and 2008 the Index of social insurance related spending increased by 278.1 percentage points and the Index of exchequer spending on social assistance increased by 248.4 percentage points. The number of social welfare recipients increased by over 53% from 436,703 to 669,603 at a time when the general population increased by 19%.
The insured population also increased from 2,310,525 persons in 1998 to 3,091,555 in 2008 but the number in employment as a percentage of the insured population has declined from a high of 73% in 2001 to 69% in 2008. This is significant as employers PRSI contributions are the major funding component.
To summarise ~ between 2007 and 2009:
· Government revenue has declined by 29%
· Social welfare expenditure has increased by 37%
· The Irish population has increased by 8%
· Per capital expenditure on social welfare has increased by 33%