A previous post looked at the overall government accounts using Table 21 from the CSO’s National Income and Expenditure Accounts. Here we use the figures from Table 24: Transfer Payments to focus on the largest expenditure item. As we saw in the previous post expenditure on current transfer payments rose from €21.3 billion in 2006 to €28.9 billion in 2010.
Table 24 provides a breakdown of current transfer payments in 43 different categories. Here we combine many of them together to form ten main groups. For example, Pensions includes contributory, non-contributory, retirement and invalidity pensions, Unemployment includes unemployment assistance, unemployment benefit and redundancy payments. Other transfers such as Child Benefit and the Supplementary Welfare Allowance are used as standalone groups.
The two largest named categories in the Other Transfer Payments group are the local authority housing rental deficit (€660 million in 2010) and the social employment scheme (€361 million). Apart from miscellaneous categories all other elements of this group are smaller.
If required Table 24 provides the figures for all 43 categories but the ten categories used here provide sufficient detail for this glance into our transfer payments where the purpose is to inform rather than advocate. Some details and 2010 figures of the classifications used by the Department of Social Welfare are available here.
Anyway this is the table produced using the ten groups.
About 40% of the increase since 2006 is as a result of the increase in direct unemployment payments. The increased level of unemployment will also have led to the increase in other payments. Pensions form the largest category and account for about one-fifth of the increase. Child Benefit payments were actually lower in 2010 than they were in 2006.
UPDATE: An extended table with details going back to 1997 can be seen by clicking here.