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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 113 to 121
 Header Item Job Creation Data
 Header Item Departmental Agencies
 Header Item Local Enterprise Offices Remit
 Header Item Local Enterprise Offices Establishment
 Header Item Youth Guarantee
 Header Item Home Care Packages
 Header Item Respite Care Grant
 Header Item Child Benefit Policy
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 800 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 92 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 113 to 121

Job Creation Data

 113. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the number of jobs created, and jobs sustained, by each county enterprise board for each year since 2007. [19307/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The information requested by the Deputy on the number of jobs created by the County Enterprise Boards (CEBs) for each year since 2007 is set out in Tables 1 to 4. Please note that prior to 2010, CEBs could report only on the number of jobs existing in CEB supported companies and the measurement of job creation was whether this figure had gone up or down since the previous year – CEBs assist in creating jobs every year, even those in which the overall employment figures fell.

  In 2010, the CEBs’ data recording system was changed to encompass the same format as used by Forfás, thereby enabling the CEBs to produce figures for jobs existing, job gains and job losses for the years from 2010 onwards.

  Table 1: CEB Employment Statistics 2012

CEB No of Clients Full Time Employees Other Time Employees Full Time Gains Full Time Losses Other Time Gains Other Time Losses Net Full Time

Gains/ Losses
Net Other Time Gains/ Losses Net Gains/ Losses (Full Time + (Other Time/2))
Carlow 261 1258 415 254 -94 165 -74 160 91 205.5
Cavan 256 1071 436 138 -131 150 -106 7 44 29
Clare 437 1255 599 200 -120 105 -174 80 -69 45.5
Cork City 242 796 114 52 -52 19 -14 0 5 2.5
Cork North 89 400 77 59 -30 12 -12 29 0 29
Cork South 266 1089 256 179 -108 97 -55 71 42 92
Cork West 173 638 350 83 -77 58 -72 6 -14 -1
Donegal 348 1578 856 131 -311 255 -99 -180 156 -102
Dublin City 842 2067 552 382 -364 183 -101 18 82 59
Dublin Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown 459 1802 839 337 -64 511 -76 273 435 490.5
Dublin Fingal 395 1237 491 240 -205 135 -156 35 -21 24.5
Dublin South 347 1076 441 168 -113 135 -88 55 47 78.5
Galway County/City 632 1556 169 124 -165 78 -45 -41 33 -24.5
Kerry 516 1236 749 316 -369 199 -368 -53 -169 -137.5
Kildare 170 800 313 133 -160 77 -108 -27 -31 -42.5
Kilkenny 376 775 204 84 -155 30 -81 -71 -51 -96.5
Laois 267 652 344 69 -99 98 -73 -30 25 -17.5
Leitrim 236 340 183 35 -45 32 -33 -10 -1 -10.5
Limerick City 183 654 270 100 -151 96 -74 -51 22 -40
Limerick County 218 1058 192 73 -81 2 -20 -8 -18 -17
Longford 313 831 265 79 -100 55 -38 -21 17 -12.5
Louth 345 866 441 148 -177 84 -90 -29 -6 -32
Mayo 255 1000 329 43 -50 35 -34 -7 1 -6.5
Meath 358 1107 341 175 -94 145 -58 81 87 124.5
Monaghan 171 902 386 120 -155 83 -60 -35 23 -23.5
Offaly 283 742 294 75 -90 41 -72 -15 -31 -30.5
Roscommon 212 612 258 81 -106 53 -73 -25 -20 -35
Sligo 231 813 475 117 -87 144 -113 30 31 45.5
Tipperary(NR) 175 365 160 41 -125 53 -40 -84 13 -77.5
Tipperary(SR) 219 706 325 53 -17 10 -6 36 4 38
Waterford City 247 665 265 76 -106 64 -38 -30 26 -17
Waterford County 200 590 204 110 -105 97 -67 5 30 20
WestMeath 281 1022 379 130 -218 97 -136 -88 -39 -107.5
Wexford 309 1193 445 269 -163 140 -173 106 -33 89.5
Wicklow 198 678 653 184 -115 234 -176 69 58 98
Grand Total 10510 33430 13070 4858 -4602 3772 -3003 256 769 640.5

Table 2: CEB Employment Statistics 2011

CEB No of Clients Full Time Employees Other Time Employees Full Time Gains Full Time Losses Other Time Gains Other Time Losses Net Full Time

Gains/ Losses
Net Other Time Gains/ Losses Net Gains/ Losses (Full Time + (Other Time/2))
Carlow 256 1098 324 190 -138 60 -133 52 -73 15.5
Cavan 253 1062 392 154 -124 95 -98 30 -3 28.5
Clare 431 1175 668 56 -33 44 -13 23 31 38.5
Cork City 225 796 109 41 -108 15 -6 -67 9 -62.5
Cork North 84 371 77 57 -105 12 -19 -48 -7 -51.5
Cork South 246 1018 214 164 -139 113 -93 25 20 35
Cork West 171 632 364 77 -94 102 -44 -17 58 12
Donegal 367 1758 700 310 -316 236 -164 -6 72 30
Dublin City 815 2062 478 293 -186 143 -181 107 -38 88
Dublin Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown 437 1063 414 159 -117 98 -202 42 -104 -10
Dublin Fingal 382 1202 512 98 -84 163 -20 14 143 85.5
Dublin South 332 1006 389 122 -82 101 -91 40 10 45
Galway County/City 1019 1597 136 250 -711 78 -92 -461 -14 -468
Kerry 552 1289 918 348 -368 399 -307 -20 92 26
Kildare 164 830 345 106 -208 135 -88 -102 47 -78.5
Kilkenny 436 846 255 151 -147 103 -55 4 48 28
Laois 278 682 319 136 -160 178 -100 -24 78 15
Leitrim 278 336 184 61 -117 80 -46 -56 34 -39
Limerick City 233 743 253 174 -140 82 -84 34 -2 33
Limerick County 294 1033 205 190 -135 92 -28 55 64 87
Longford 327 852 248 117 -130 81 -80 -13 1 -12.5
Louth 348 895 447 255 -241 194 -106 14 88 58
Mayo 264 1007 328 63 -163 48 -138 -100 -90 -145
Meath 379 1026 254 358 -163 120 -105 195 15 202.5
Monaghan 224 937 363 111 -121 95 -65 -10 30 5
Offaly 276 760 327 224 -95 69 -61 129 8 133
Roscommon 220 654 278 107 -94 63 -74 13 -11 7.5
Sligo 345 783 444 121 -101 156 -57 20 99 69.5
Tipperary(NR) 176 449 147 88 -48 32 -50 40 -18 31
Tipperary(SR) 264 667 321 77 -251 60 -115 -174 -55 -201.5
Waterford City 266 590 226 178 -186 85 -58 -8 27 5.5
Waterford County 215 589 174 59 -80 50 -32 -21 18 -12
WestMeath 406 1111 418 188 -211 169 -72 -23 97 25.5
Wexford 370 1088 478 167 -255 148 -103 -88 45 -65.5
Wicklow 211 607 591 81 -250 145 -91 -169 54 -142
Grand Total 11544 32614 12300 5331 -5901 3844 -3071 -570 773 -183.5

Table 3: CEB Employment Statistics 2010

CEB No of Clients Full Time Jobs in Clients Other Time Jobs in Clients Full Time Jobs Gains Full Time Jobs Losses Other Time Jobs Gains Other Time Jobs Losses Net Full Time

Gains/ Losses
Net Other Time Gains/ Losses Net Gains/ Losses (Full Time + (Other Time/2))
Carlow 224 1046 397 160 -56 83 -79 104 4 106.0
Cavan 252 1063 414 205 -185 195 -84 20 111 75.5
Clare 410 1150 637 69 -62 77 -16 7 61 37.5
Cork City 176 856 100 63 -133 0 -10 -70 -10 -75.0
Cork North 75 419 84 24 -128 39 -8 -104 31 -88.5
Cork South 216 993 193 102 -83 41 -43 19 -2 18.0
Cork West 182 649 306 65 -49 66 -49 16 17 24.5
Donegal 305 1676 610 188 -232 146 -88 -44 58 -15.0
Dublin City 905 1975 510 468 -780 333 -181 -312 152 -236.0
Dublin Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown 425 1021 518 318 -158 118 -77 160 41 180.5
Dublin Fingal 374 1186 369 110 -157 59 -82 -47 -23 -58.5
Dublin South 311 966 379 136 -84 92 -76 52 16 60.0
Galway County/City 983 2056 150 149 -311 25 -62 -162 -37 -180.5
Kerry 611 1301 824 287 -224 190 -196 63 -6 60.0
Kildare 166 932 298 169 -130 108 -74 39 34 56.0
Kilkenny 416 842 207 72 -69 28 -44 3 -16 -5.0
Laois 186 654 199 80 -165 69 -93 -85 -24 -97.0
Leitrim 246 392 150 42 -44 19 -47 -2 -28 -16.0
Limerick City 177 699 253 105 -122 101 -48 -17 53 9.5
Limerick County 265 976 141 75 -47 29 -7 28 22 39.0
Longford 305 863 247 111 -135 52 -31 -24 21 -13.5
Louth 321 894 375 87 -50 33 -60 37 -27 23.5
Mayo 373 1137 423 212 -157 86 -116 55 -30 40.0
Meath 195 766 234 80 -228 66 -80 -148 -14 -155.0
Monaghan 211 946 333 106 -55 49 -58 51 -9 46.5
Offaly 264 630 318 56 -84 83 -26 -28 57 0.5
Roscommon 190 634 279 43 -135 96 -60 -92 36 -74.0
Sligo 359 767 346 125 -91 103 -128 34 -25 21.5
Tipperary(NR) 155 409 165 66 -161 29 -47 -95 -18 -104.0
Tipperary(SR) 255 854 381 96 -11 39 -6 85 33 101.5
Waterford City 257 569 205 82 -128 16 -41 -46 -25 -58.5
Waterford County 225 612 156 96 -116 17 -52 -20 -35 -37.5
WestMeath 370 1126 320 166 -144 58 -98 22 -40 2.0
Wexford 306 1174 432 151 -150 125 -77 1 48 25.0
Wicklow 229 761 529 146 -94 285 -52 52 233 168.5
Grand Total 10920 32994 11482 4510 -4958 2955 -2296 -448 659 -118.5


Table 4: Net Jobs Created in CEB-assisted Companies
  2007 2008 2009
Carlow 920.00 924.00 843.0
Cavan 1,067.00 1,075.50 947.0
Clare 1,555.00 1,496.50 1,417.5
Cork City 916.00 892.00 770.5
Cork North 461.50 462.00 387.0
Cork South 996.50 942.50 916.0
Cork West 689.50 643.50 571.0
Donegal 1,629.50 1,816.50 1,688.0
Dublin City 1,548.00 1,811.00 1,873.0
Fingal 991.50 1,061.00 1,050.0
South Dublin 990.50 954.00 855.5
Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown 776.50 851.00 807.0
Galway City & Co. 1,716.00 1,688.00 1,743.0
Kerry 981.00 1,089.00 1,170.50
Kildare 1,004.50 975.00 897.5
Kilkenny 784.50 782.50 664.0
Laois 953.00 848.50 656.0
Leitrim 396.00 368.50 300.5
Limerick City 946.00 682.50 590.5
Limerick Co. 922.50 890.00 842.0
Longford 788.50 787.00 745.0
Louth 1,198.00 1,212.50 973.5
Mayo 1,295.00 1,314.50 1,223.0
Meath 1,064.50 1,026.00 908.0
Monaghan 1,061.50 912.00 873.5
Offaly 930.50 792.00 593.5
Roscommon 895.00 853.50 620.0
Sligo 756.50 788.00 735.0
Tipperary NR 574.50 519.50 413.0
Tipperary SR 809.50 783.50 655.5
Waterford City 832.00 809.50 662.0
Waterford Co 665.50 587.50 547.0
Westmeath 1,220.00 1,131.00 1,004.5
Wexford 1,405.50 1,252.00 1,076.0
Wicklow 804.00 789.00 707.5
Totals 34,545.50 33,811.00 30,726.50
S = South and East Region, B = BMW Region

Departmental Agencies

 114. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton if the Craft Council, which is under the auspices of his Department will be recognised as a cultural body in order to enable craft workers to be included under legislation governing the Arts Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19414/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The Crafts Council of Ireland is the national design and economic development organisation for the crafts industry in Ireland fostering the sector’s growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness. The Council’s activities are substantially funded by my Department via Enterprise Ireland. The Crafts Council works closely with Enterprise Ireland to create and sustain jobs, and grow exports in the crafts sector.

Under Action 318 of the Action Plan for Jobs 2013, the Crafts Council will continue to increase the profile of the craft sector in Ireland through its involvement in a number of key initiatives which will seek to maximise the economic impact and job creation potential of investment in the sector. I am unaware of any proposals with regard to having the Crafts Council recognised as a cultural body. The Arts Council is a statutory body under the Arts Act 2003 and all matters relating to that body are the responsibility of my colleague, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Local Enterprise Offices Remit

 115. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the reason the proposed LEOs are going to be less confusing for businesses; if the limit of 10 employees is maintained for the LEOs; if the LEOs will be able to engage with indigenous companies who employ more than 10 but do not export; if he will confirm that the new LEOs will have an independent evaluation committee based on independent business experts and professionals who chair such committees; if he will explain the reason the current proposal to have county managers or their representatives chair such an expert committee is supportive of achieving economic development and job creation in view of the fact that it is not their area of expertise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19465/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The CEB restructuring project is the first radical reform of the system for the delivery of State support to micro and small businesses since the establishment of the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs). This reform will bring about a new level of engagement and interaction at both national and local level in relation to enterprise support and stimulation and economic recovery and growth. The proposed reforms offer a huge opportunity to leverage the skills, resources and experience of the CEBs, Local Authorities and local business community to create a national approach to the sector allowing for seamless progression, innovative performance, streamlined delivery and increased employment.

The Centre of Excellence within Enterprise Ireland (EI) will be responsible for developing an improved environment for small and micro business and bringing this sector into the heart of national enterprise policy. It will build on the success of the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) by developing new thinking and best practice with regard to supports for small and micro business and ensuring their delivery. Some of the strengths and advantages that EI will bring to the LEOs are an enhanced insight to the opportunities for development of key and emerging sectors, clusters and networks; a back-stop of technical expertise to assist in the assessment of potential investment projects and access to a central reservoir of information, benchmarking programme performance and assessing international best practice. The LEOs will be the first-stop-shop through which all information on State supports for small and micro businesses can be accessed, and where businesses with clear high growth potential can be fast-tracked to the next level of support from EI.

As Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation I will retain responsibility for policy, and a key feature of this new structure will be the consistent application of policy across all LEOs, from the evaluation of applications for funding support, to the spending of budgets allocated. I will shortly be publishing a Framework Service Level Agreement that has been agreed between Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities which will form the basis within which LEOs will operate in delivering enterprise supports. This includes details on the creation of the Evaluation Committees that will be established. They will include representatives from Enterprise Ireland and a number of business representatives and entrepreneurs with specific business expertise. The decision to have the County Manager, or their representative, chair the committee is in line with their responsibility in the delivery of this service on behalf of Enterprise Ireland.

In addition to the publication of the SLA the national micro enterprise policy guidelines are currently being reviewed and developed and will outline how micro and small enterprises will be supported. The Deputy will be aware that I engaged in a full public consultation process and the valuable inputs received are currently helping to frame these guidelines. The current policy of supporting companies with less than ten employees that are involved in manufacturing and internationally traded services will be broadened to a situation where all micro and small businesses will be included in the first-stop-shop services of the LEO e.g. companies with greater than ten employees and those trading in the domestic market will be eligible for appropriate supports.

Local Enterprise Offices Establishment

 116. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton the way in which the proposal to maintain in excess of 30 LEOs meets the criteria of reducing the number of quangos in the McCarthy report; the way in which the suggested structure of new enterprise offices based on local authorities reporting to county managers with a service level agreement with Enterprise Ireland, that is, adding the complexity of local authorities, does not in fact create another layer for businesses to deal with; if he will explain the way the proposed new structure and the reporting requirements within it are enterprise focused; and if he will outline the reason start up businesses should see why engaging with a local authority that sets and demands rates is a positive and innovative reform. [19467/13]

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The CEB restructuring project is the first radical reform of the system for the delivery of State support to micro and small businesses since the establishment of the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs). This reform will bring about a new level of engagement and interaction at both national and local level in relation to enterprise support and economic recovery and growth. The proposed reforms offer a huge opportunity to leverage the skills and experience of the CEBs, Local Authorities and local business community to create a national approach to the sector allowing for seamless progression, innovative performance and increased employment.

The creation of a First-Stop-Shop at local level for the support of small and micro business will bring local enterprise support into an integrated national network of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) delivering enterprise policy to the highest standards, offering seamless progression for small business with potential to the existing national programmes run by Enterprise Ireland (EI). The LEOs will deliver the combined functions of CEBs and the Local Authority business support functions as well as developing an enhanced service to business at local level.

The new Micro Enterprise and Small Business Division in Enterprise Ireland will develop a world-class Centre of Excellence providing best-in-class support to entrepreneurs and small business in the execution of a national micro enterprise policy. The LEOs will report into this new Micro Enterprise and Small Business division.

The EI Centre of Excellence will be responsible for developing an improved environment for small and micro business and bringing this sector into the heart of national enterprise policy. It will build on the success of the CEBs by developing new thinking and best practice with regard to supports for small and micro business and ensuring their delivery. Some of the strengths and advantages that EI will display are an enhanced insight to the opportunities for development of key and emerging sectors, clusters and networks; a back-stop of technical expertise to assist in the assessment of potential investment projects and access to a central reservoir of information, benchmarking programme performance and assessing international best practice. The LEOs will have a close on going working and reporting relationship with EI in terms of design and deliver of appropriate national training and management development programmes and financial supports, management and monitoring of LEO metrics including the measurement of customer/entrepreneur experience/satisfaction, progressing LEO clients to the EI portfolio, preparation of Enterprise Development Plans for each LEO etc.

The current 35 separate Board structure will be dissolved – thereby removing much of the high level administrative requirements normally associated with Non Commercial State Sponsored Bodies and eliminating duplication or overlap arising from the individual Board structure - and their functions delivered by the Local Authority, through the LEO, on behalf of EI. The LEOs will form a stand-alone unit within the local authority structure and through Framework Service Level Agreement (SLA) between EI and the Local Authorities will be answerable to me as Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation for all enterprise policy and budgetary matters. I will shortly publish the SLA.

Local Authorities have worked with business to support investment and business development at local level, and to the extent that it has been part of their remit hitherto, promoting and fostering entrepreneurship. They deliver essential services to business and can respond to the needs of local businesses speedily and efficiently, as well as advising on the requirements placed on business in relation to matters such as planning, building, fire and safety, business rates, and licensing.

Youth Guarantee

 117. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if her attention has been drawn to Focus Ireland's proposal to introduce a Youth Guarantee; if she will provide education, training and support for young persons experiencing homelessness; her views on whether it will save costs for the Exchequer; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19186/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The €100 rate of jobseeker’s allowance was introduced for claimants aged under 20 in April 2009, and this rate was applied to claimants aged up to 21 from December 2009. A rate of €144 applies to claimants aged 22-24. The measures encourage young jobseekers to improve their skills and remain active in the labour market in order to avoid the risk of becoming long-term unemployed and will help them to progress into sustainable employment on a long-term basis. Where a person is in receipt of a rate of jobseeker's allowance described above and he or she participates in a course of education, training, Community Employment, Rural Social Scheme or Tús, a higher rate of €160 applies.

  I understand that the Deputy has been contacted with regard to these measures by Focus Ireland. My officials are in contact with Focus Ireland in relation to their concerns. While the primary issue in this regard is a housing issue rather than one of income support, the Department will continue to engage with Focus Ireland and to seek a viable solution.

  In relation to a Youth Guarantee, under my chairmanship, the Council of Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Ministers (EPSCO) last month agreed a recommendation on an EU-wide Youth Guarantee. The EPSCO Recommendation is that each Member State should ensure that young people receive a quality offer of employment or of continued education, an apprenticeship or traineeship within four months of becoming unemployed. The Recommendation will now move to be considered for formal adoption by the Council at a later stage in Ireland's Presidency - most likely in May.

  The scale and nature of the measures required will depend on the trend in youth unemployment, and in particular the number of young people likely to experience periods of unemployment of more than four months under current policies. In this context, it is a welcome development that the official labour market figures published by the CSO recently indicated that the number of young unemployed at the end of 2012, at 59,000, a reduction of almost 9,000 on the same time a year earlier. It is to be hoped that this is the beginning of a sustained downward movement in youth unemployment as the economy recovers. Even so, the implementation of a guarantee will, almost certainly require an expansion in the range of opportunities currently on offer to young people in the form of further education, training, internships, subsidised private-sector recruitment, and supports for self-employment.

Home Care Packages

 118. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the status of a home care package payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19438/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton This is a matter for my colleague in the Department of Health.

Respite Care Grant

 119. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will reverse the 19% cut to the respite care grant and actively support the campaign by carers to give carer's a break [19487/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The contribution that people provide in caring for members of their own family is critical for society. It was for that reason that the Government last year adopted the National Carers’ Strategy with a view to giving greater public recognition to carers and their work.

Carers receive significant income supports from the Department of Social Protection so that people can continue living at home as far as possible. Expenditure on carers has increased significantly in recent years. In 2013 it is estimated to be €776 million compared with an estimated outturn of €771 million in 2012. The expenditure on carers in 2012 included: €509 million on carer’s allowance; €24 million on carer’s benefit; €135 million on the respite care grant and; €103 million on domiciliary care allowance. Carers also receive a free travel pass at an annual cost of €6 million and carers who reside with the care recipient are eligible for the household benefits package at an annual cost of approximately €30 million.

I am not in a position to reverse the reduction to the respite care grant. The revised rate of €1,375 will still be more than what it was in 2006 when the rate was €1,200. The respite care grant is paid to more than 70,000 people each year, with some 5,000 people in receipt of more than one grant as they care for more than one person. Almost 54,000 people are in receipt of the carer’s allowance and 27,000 in receipt of the domiciliary care allowance. There are also 1,700 in receipt of carer’s benefit. Some 5,000 carers not in receipt of a carer’s payment also receive the grant.

The supports available to carers in Ireland are among the highest rates of income support in Europe. A person getting certain qualifying payments and also providing full-time care and attention to another person can keep their main social welfare payment and receive a half-rate carer’s allowance as well. The half-rate carer’s allowance was protected in Budget 2013. The respite care grant is available to all full-time carers regardless of their means while the income disregard and means test for carers allowance is the most generous in the social welfare system. A couple under 66 with two children, earning a joint annual income of up to €35,400 can qualify for the maximum rate of carer’s allowance while a couple earning €59,300 will still qualify for the minimum rate. Carers are entitled to an extra half-rate carer’s allowance if they care for more than one person and a respite care grant for each care recipient.

Child Benefit Policy

 120. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton her plans for the future of child benefit;; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19154/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Child benefit is a universal payment that assists parents with the cost of raising children and it contributes towards alleviating child poverty. The estimated expenditure on child benefit in 2013 is around €1.9 billion and it is currently paid to around 611,000 families in respect of some 1.16 million children. In line with a commitment in the Programme for Government I established an Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare, tasked with recommending cost-effective solutions as to how employment disincentives can be improved and better poverty outcomes can be achieved. The first report of the Group, examining child and family income supports was published in February.

This report makes important recommendations on how child benefit could be maintained as a universal payment while reforming the system of child and family income supports so as to better target those who need these supports most. There was a strong preference in the Group for an approach based on a two-tier child and family income support payment which would encourage work participation and allow for better flexibility in the targeting of support for different family types.

Given the range of complex issues involved, the Government has made no decision at this time on the core recommendations of the report. It is intended that the report will now contribute to a wider policy debate on the matter. In considering the proposals to reform child and family income support payments, including the balance between income supports and services, I expect that Government will also take into account further work by the Advisory Group on the issue of social protection and taxation supports for working age persons and more general developments in the budgetary and fiscal situation.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 121. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the situation regarding a carers allowance application in respect of a person (details provided) details supplied in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19170/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 12 March 2013 who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.


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