€36.2 million rise in social security outlay recorded during 2017 – NSO
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€936.9 million was spent by the Government to cover social security benefits in 2017, the National Statistics Office said today.
This reflected a 4.0 per cent rise, or €36.2 million, when compared to 2016 and was the result of a €37.5 million hike in Contributory outlay.
The NSO noted that a slight decrease of €1.3 million was reported under Non-Contributory expenditure.
Last year, the total Contributory Benefits was €749.7 million, it said, 5.3 per cent higher than 2016.
Pensions in respect of Retirement recorded the largest increase in expenditure with €29.7 million more spent in 2017, mainly to cover the rise in Two-thirds Pension (€28.8 million).
There were further increases reported under Pensions in respect of Widowhood (€9.1 million), the catalyst being a €6.1 million rise in Survivors’ Pension, and Contributory Bonus (€2.7 million).
However, the NSO noted that drops in outlay were registered by Pensions in respect of Invalidity (€2.9 million), Other Benefits (€1.1 million) and Benefits in respect of Industrial Injuries and Gratuities (€0.1 million).
Non-Contributory expenditure amounted to €187.2 million last year, reflecting a slight drop of 0.7 per cent when compared to 2016. The decline followed €7.1 million less being spent on Social Assistance, the result of a €4.3 million drop in Unemployment Assistance outlay.
The NSO said that Child Allowance also recorded a decrease totalling €1.1 million, as did Non-Contributory Bonus (€0.2 million). These drops, it said, were partially offset by rises in outlay reported under Old Age Pension (€3.4 million), Disability Pension/Allowance (€2.2 million), Supplementary Assistance (€1.3 million), In-Work Benefit (€0.2 million) and Medical Assistance (€0.1 million).
48,345 persons received a Two-Thirds Pension in 2017, making this social benefit the one with the largest number of recipients last year. In addition, the Two-Thirds Pension registered the biggest increase in Contributory beneficiaries with 2,848 more pensioners than 2016.
The largest drops in recipients were reported under the Sickness (501) and Unemployment Benefits (492), the NSO said.
The Children’s Allowance (43,753) had the largest share of Non-Contributory recipients, this was followed by Supplementary Assistance (25,340). The NSO reported that it was the latter that recorded the largest rise in beneficiaries with 1,096 more than 2016 and slightly higher than the increase of 1,077 persons registered by the In-Work Benefit.
The Unemployment Assistance reported the biggest decline in recipients with 1,644 less recipient.
Photograph by Alain Salvary