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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 264-281
 Header Item Revenue Commissioners Investigations
 Header Item Universal Social Charge Exemptions
 Header Item Programme for Government Implementation
 Header Item State Banking Sector
 Header Item Quinn Insurance Limited
 Header Item Appointment of Receivers
 Header Item Property Tax Administration
 Header Item NAMA Receivers
 Header Item Property Tax Collection
 Header Item Bank Branch Closures
 Header Item Insurance Levy
 Header Item Regulatory Bodies
 Header Item IBRC Mortgage Loan Book
 Header Item Tax Credits
 Header Item Special Educational Needs Staffing
 Header Item School Staffing
 Header Item School Transport Fees
 Header Item Student Assistance Fund

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 835 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 118 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 264-281

Revenue Commissioners Investigations

 264. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the checks and searches that are carried out by officers of the Revenue Commissioners on aircraft that are flown into airports here to be dismantled for the salvage of spare parts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14044/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that as regards the import of aircraft for complete dismantling, in accordance with international best practice, such activity involving air traffic into the State is risk assessed by Revenue.  Inspections or interventions are undertaken where, in the light of the risk assessment, such action is considered warranted by Revenue.

Universal Social Charge Exemptions

 265. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is exempt from universal social charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14096/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that based on the information available, the person concerned is exempt from Universal Social Charge (USC).   A PAYE Balancing Statement (P21) for 2013 and a refund of USC deducted will issue shortly to the person concerned. 

Programme for Government Implementation

 266. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will provide an update in tabular form of the commitments in the Programme for Government that relate to his Department; and the progress that has been made in the implementation of each commitment.  [14114/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The full list of the Programme for Government commitments that come under the remit of the Department of Finance is set out in the Statement of Strategy 2011-2014 which is available on my Department's website. Each year the Department of the Taoiseach, in conjunction with all Government Departments, publishes a report setting out progress made on the implementation of the Programme for Government.  The third annual report was published just three weeks ago, on 4 March, and sets out in detail the substantial work carried out right across all of Government.  A copy of this report can also be accessed on the Department of the Taoiseach's website. The recent report sets out the progress made in implementing the commitments under my Departments remit.

State Banking Sector

 267. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the reasons for the appointment of KPMG to liquidate Anglo Irish Bank in view of its prior role with Irish Nationwide Building Society; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14142/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Kieran Wallace and Eamon Richardson of KPMG were selected for the role of Special Liquidators having regard to their previous insolvency experience and the capacity of the firm to complete the work required. As the Deputy will appreciate, it was not possible to run a tender process for the liquidation of IBRC due to the sensitivity of the matter. However, steps were taken to ensure that the rates agreed were commensurate with those agreed following a tender process undertaken by the National Asset Management Agency.

Quinn Insurance Limited

 268. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he will publish the fees and costs of the administrators of Quinn Insurance following a recent media report stating that four partners of a company (details supplied) involved in the work attended the Superbowl; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14143/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan In 2010 Joint Administrators were appointed by the High Court at the request of the Central Bank because of concerns about the solvency position of Quinn Insurance Limited (QIL).  

  All fees paid to Grant Thornton as Administrators of QIL are submitted to and approved by the President of the High Court. 

  These fees are disclosed in QIL financial statements and set out in the table below are the audited fees paid to Grant Thornton from the 2012 and 2011 accounts. The provisional unaudited figures for 2013 fees are also included.

2011

€m
2012

€m
2013 (provisional)

€m
7.52.72.8


  In my role as Minister for Finance, I have emphasised to the Joint Administrators the importance of taking appropriate measures to ensure cost effective management of the claims settlement process and ensuring that everything possible is done to minimise the call on the ICF. 

Appointment of Receivers

 269. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the number of receivers appointed in each of the past five years for each of the following, receivers appointments as recorded by the Companies Registration Office, receivers appointments recorded by the Central Bank of Ireland for financial institutions it regulates for commercial loans and residential loans, the banks in State control and the numerical number of receiver appointments for commercial loans and residential loans and the numerical amount of court appointed receiver (details supplied).  [14148/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan As the Deputy is aware, in the event of a default arising on a secured loan, as one of the enforcement options available to the creditor, a receiver may be appointed by way of a Court Order or, outside of the Courts process, where the mortgage document permits. 

The number of receivers appointed by the Courts is a matter for the Minister for Justice and Equality while the number of receiver appointments as recorded by the Companies Office is a matter for the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. The Central Bank has advised that it does not publish statistics on the number of rent receivers appointed by Irish headquartered banks. However, the Deputy may wish to note that my Department has recently commenced the publication of aggregated mortgage arrears and related data in respect of the six banks covered by the Central Bank's Mortgage Arrears Resolution Targets (MART) process, and that the end January 2014 data (which was published by my Department on the 13th of March) shows that, in respect of mortgage residential properties, the six lenders had 3,721 rent receivers in place.

Property Tax Administration

 270. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Revenue service in Ennis, County Clare, has a section set up to deal with returns from receivers for property tax for residential homes; the numbers of returns received from receivers by the Revenue Commissioners for each county; and the total value of money received to date (details supplied). [14149/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The logistical arrangements for the administration of Local Property Tax are a matter for the Revenue Commissioners and I would not expect to be involved in any way in deciding how and where to organise the various sections of the Office of the Revenue Commissioners. 

I am advised by Revenue that all matters relating to the administration of Local Property Tax (LPT) are handled by LPT Branch, which is based in Ennis. This includes dealing with queries in respect of returns filing from across the LPT customer base, including receivers, as required.

For the Deputy's information, the owner of a residential property is the "liable person" in respect of LPT and may continue to be so depending on the circumstances under which a receiver is appointed. However in circumstances, where a financial institution enforces its security over a property by taking possession of the property, then the financial institution, as a 'mortgagee in possession', displaces the owner of the property as the liable person. Revenue has further advised me that the data requested by the Deputy are not available because receivers are not identified as a discrete category on the LPT Register.

NAMA Receivers

 271. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the number of receivers appointed by the National Assets Management Agency to family homes and commercial properties; and the money spent to date on receivers by NAMA (details supplied). [14150/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan NAMA advises that a total of 258 receiver appointments have been made to date in Ireland. Appointments have been made to both commercial entities and to specific properties across various sectors. NAMA advises that receiver appointments include those made prior to the acquisition of the loans by NAMA. Receiver appointments by the participating institutions include appointments made since acquisition of the loans by NAMA on assets and entities which continue to be managed by the institutions on behalf of NAMA.  NAMA advises that fees incurred by receivers across all jurisdictions from the date of the acquisition of the underlying loans by NAMA are €59.5m.

I am advised that receivers appointed by NAMA in Ireland control 770 residential properties,  comprising single or multiple units, which are either vacant or rented, and 701 commercial properties (comprising single or multiple units) . In the case of family homes, it is necessary to obtain court orders to secure control of the asset and I am advised that, to date, NAMA receivers have sought and obtained court orders in just four cases.    

Property Tax Collection

 272. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the number of cheques and postal orders respectively that have been received for payment of the local property tax by the Revenue Commissioners that have not been matched to a property due to the absence of the property ID number on the cheque or postal order; the total value of those unregistered cheques and postal orders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14156/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I am advised by Revenue that where tax payments are received without the required level of detail to correctly appropriate them to the taxpayer record, they are lodged to a specific holding account while investigations are completed. These investigations, which may include direct contact with the relevant financial institution, are carried out on a daily basis and taxpayer accounts are immediately updated once the required level of detail is obtained.

In regard to the Deputy's specific inquiry in relation to cheque and postal order payments of Local Property Tax, Revenue has confirmed to me that it currently has 24 unmatched payments. The total value of these payments is €3,953.

Bank Branch Closures

 273. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the number of bank retail outlets that have been closed in the State in the past three years; the locations of these banks; the amount it would cost the State to take ownership of these premises; and the estimated annual running costs. [14165/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan I do not have the information requested by the Deputy.  I would point out that some of these premises may have been rented or leased. There are no plans to take branches into state ownership which were owned by the banks but which are now closing down. The Deputy may wish to request this information directly from the relevant banks.

Insurance Levy

 274. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the position regarding levies (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14174/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF) levy of 2% being applied to home, motor and commercial insurance operates under the Insurance Act 1964 and came into effect from 1 January 2012, following the appointment of administrators to Quinn Insurance Ltd (QIL) by the High Court.

  Under Section 6 of the Insurance Act 1964 the responsibility for deciding whether the ICF has sufficient funds available to it at any particular time is a matter for the Central Bank. Where, in the Bank's opinion, the state of the Fund is such that financial support should be provided for it, it determines an appropriate contribution to be paid to it by each insurer calculated as a percentage, not exceeding 2% of the aggregate of the gross premiums paid to that insurer in respect of policies issued in respect of risks in the State. Funds from the levy are collected from insurers by the Revenue Commissioners and these funds are transferred on a monthly basis to the ICF.    The funds from the levy have been used to allow the Quinn Insurance Limited administrators to meet the financial obligations of the administration of QIL as they arise.

  The 3% stamp duty on non-life insurance premiums was introduced in 1982 and is often referred to as an insurance levy.  This Stamp Duty forms a part of general stamp duty receipts and is paid into the Central Fund along with other tax receipts. 

  No decision has been made to introduce a flood levy on insurance premiums.  As the Deputy is aware, Government policy in relation to flooding aims to address the underlying problem through appropriate remedial works where this is economically feasible. The Office of Public Works is committed to alleviating the impact of flooding through the provision of defences as well as a comprehensive assessment of flood risk throughout the country and development of flood risk management plans for the areas most at risk under the National Catchment Flood Risk Assessment & Management (CFRAM) Programme. Because of cost and scale of these types of flood defence works, this approach will see benefits over the medium and long term.

  The OPW and Insurance Ireland yesterday agreed on a sustainable system of information sharing in relation to completed flood alleviation schemes. The outcome of this arrangement is that the insurance industry will have a much greater understanding of the extent of the protection provided by flood defence works and will therefore be able to reflect this in the provision of flood insurance to householders in areas where works have been completed.

  My Department is also undertaking a review of measures to address the availability of flood insurance cover, including the experience and proposals in other countries. In assessing these, care has to be taken that the proposed solutions do not put in place arrangements which, over time, would weaken the provision of insurance cover by the market with possible negative long-term consequences for the economy. 

Regulatory Bodies

 275. Deputy Seamus Kirk Information on Seamus Kirk Zoom on Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan if he is considering introducing statutory regulation of the Irish Tax Institute in view of the considerable fallout from financial decisions taken on projects over the past ten years or so; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14182/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Irish Tax Institute is primarily a representative and educational body. It has established and maintains appropriate professional standards of conduct for its members and the exercise of professional discipline over those who do not comply with those standards. Details of the standards are contained in the Institute s Code of Conduct, which I understand can be accessed on its website. In these circumstances, I do not consider that a case currently exists for the introduction of statutory regulation along the lines suggested by the Deputy.

IBRC Mortgage Loan Book

 276. Deputy Billy Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the position regarding former customers of all institutions with mortgages transferred to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, now in liquidation, who are concerned about what the future holds for them regarding the sale of their loans; the current position on the code of conduct on mortgage arrears that has been applied to the purchasers of these loans in order that the mortgage holders will have protection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14207/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Special Liquidators have confirmed that a voluntary agreement has been reached with the bidders for the IBRC mortgage book in relation to the application of the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears. This is an important and timely development and will ensure that mortgage holders in arrears will be serviced in line with the CCMA and that customers will continue to be protected by the code in the event that they acquire these loans.

The Government is committed to bringing forward legislation to protect mortgage holders and will work with both the Central Bank and the Attorney General to achieve the best solution for mortgage holders. Given that this is a complex legal issue, the legislation will require careful consideration to ensure the general applicability of the CCMA is not put at risk.

Tax Credits

 277. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Finance Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan the level of tax credits, that is available to a person, and the level of income, that one would have to earn in excess of the tax credits before becoming liable to tax at the 41% rate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14221/14]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan The Irish tax system applies a unified system of taxation to personal income which makes no differentiation between earned income (such as pay), and unearned income (such as rents).   An individual is liable to income tax in respect of his or her income arising from all sources.  Under joint assessment the incomes of both spouses and civil partners are aggregated.  When the full income has been determined various allowances, reliefs and deductions are applied to arrive at the taxable income.

  Examples of deductions allowable in arriving at taxable income include capital allowances, relief for maintenance payments to a former spouse, former civil partner, or financially dependant former cohabitant, and pension contributions relief.

  This taxable income is subject to tax and only when the tax liability has been calculated will tax credits be applied to reduce the liability.

  Tax is charged on the first €32,800 of such income at the standard rate of 20% and the marginal rate of 41% applies on all income thereafter. Therefore, a single or widowed individual will be liable to the marginal rate of tax on all income in excess of €32,800.

  The civil status of the individual will determine the level at which a higher standard rate band applies.  In the case of a married couple or civil partners with only one income source the standard rate of tax of 20% applies on the first €41,800 and the marginal rate applies on all additional income.  For a married couple or civil partners where each party has a separate source of income a ceiling of €65,600 at the 20% rate can apply, subject to a maximum of €41,800 applying to one spouse or civil partner.  In other words, when the other spouse or civil partner earns over €23,800, they become subject to tax at the marginal rate on the excess.

  Tax credits reduce the liability as calculated above and are determined based on the individual circumstances of the taxpayer.  Every single taxpayer is entitled to a personal tax credit in the amount of €1,650. This is increased to €3,300 for jointly assessed married couples or civil partners and €2,190 for a widowed person or surviving civil partner (without dependant children).

  Further tax credits may be claimed where the qualifying criteria are satisfied. Some examples of the types of credits that may be applicable include:-

  - PAYE credit of €1,650 which is granted to employees and pensioners;

  - Single Person Child Carer Credit of €1,650, granted where a qualifying  child resides with the claimant for the whole or greater part of the year;

  - Age credit of €245 granted where the taxpayer is aged 65 years or over in the year of assessment.  This is increased to €490 for married couples or civil partners;

  - Home Carer Credit of up to €810 can be claimed by a spouse or civil partner who works at home caring for a child or children, or an aged or incapacitated individual. This credit is reduced if the home carer has income between €5,080 and €6,700;

  - Health expenses relief can be claimed for qualifying expenses incurred in the provision of health care.  Relief is available at standard rate of 20% for all expenses other than maintenance or treatment in a nursing home which may relieved at the individual s marginal rate of tax. Information in relation to the taxation of individuals, and all tax credits, deductions and reliefs that may be applicable in individual circumstances is available on the Revenue website at http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it1.html.

Special Educational Needs Staffing

 278. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will review the special needs assistant allocation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Meath in order to facilitate mainstreaming in September 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12802/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports, including the allocation of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) to schools. The NCSE operates within my Department's established criteria for the allocation of Special Education supports and the staffing resources available to my Department.

The NCSE allocates a quantum of SNA support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support. The deployment of SNAs within schools is then a matter for the individual Principal/Board of Management. SNAs should be deployed by the school in a manner which best meets the care support requirements of the children enrolled in the school for whom SNA support has been allocated. It is a matter for schools to allocate support as required, and on the basis of individual need, which allows schools flexibility in how the SNA support is utilised. The NCSE has invited schools to make applications for SNA support for the coming 2014/15 school year by 26th March, 2014.

All schools who wish to make applications to the NCSE for SNA support for children who have assessed care needs, should now submit such applications to the NCSE for their consideration. Details of the NCSE application criteria are available at www.ncse.ie. All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

School Staffing

 279. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn the reason a school (details supplied) in County Cork has had its appeal for a fourth class teacher for the 2014-15 school year refused; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [12804/14]

 381. Deputy Dan Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if a school (details supplied) in County Limerick can retain all its teachers. [13870/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 279 and 381 together.

The criteria used for the allocation of teachers to schools is published annually on the Department's website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September. The staffing arrangements for the coming school year 2014/15 are set out in Circular 0007/2014 which is available on the website.

As part of the Budget 2012 decisions, there is a phased increase in the number of pupils required to gain and retain a classroom teaching post in small primary schools with four teachers or less. The first phase of the budget measure took effect from September 2012. The final phase of the budget measure takes effect from September 2014.

An appeals process is available to small schools which have had their staff number reduced as a result of the budget measure. A school with four classroom teachers or less which is losing a teacher or failed to gain an additional teacher as a result of the Budget 2012 measure can submit an appeal to the Primary Staffing Appeals Board. In this regard small schools will not lose their classroom post if they are projecting sustainable increased enrolments in September 2014 that would be sufficient to allow them to retain their existing classroom posts over the longer term.

The schools referred to by the Deputies submitted an appeal to the February, 2014 meeting of the Primary Staffing Appeals Board. Having considered the schools' applications in the context of the published grounds, the Board deemed the applications ineligible. The schools were notified accordingly. The Primary Staffing Appeals Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.

School Transport Fees

 280. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if he will instruct Bus Éireann to introduce a payment plan for families so that they can pay for the cost of school transport over the course of the school year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12826/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Information on Ciaran Cannon Zoom on Ciaran Cannon The Deputy will be aware that children who are eligible for school transport and who hold valid medical cards (GMS Scheme) are exempt from paying the annual charge.

The scale of the School Transport Scheme, transporting some 114,000 children every school day on some 6,000 school transport routes utilising some 4,000 vehicles every school day makes it the largest public transport operation in the State. Consequently, the feasibility of allowing a more frequent payment option would have to be considered in light of the size of the integrated school transport network.

It makes sense that such an arrangement would significantly increase the administration costs involved given the significant increase in the number of invoices, payments and tickets that would need to be processed over the course of a school year.

In addition, Bus Éireann advise that more frequent ticketing would mean that services would have to be checked more regularly to ensure that several thousand children are travelling with valid tickets, demanding potentially greater supervision and follow-up activity from an administrative perspective, with added cost implications. The current arrangements ensure that school transport services are utilised in an efficient and cost effective manner.

Student Assistance Fund

 281. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn if his attention has been drawn to the fact that students attending third level institutions to complete fulltime level 6 access courses cannot receive funding from the student assistance fund as it is not a level 8 course, or other child care assistance funds; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that VTOS provides extra funding for level 5 students; his plans to ensure that students are supported fully.  [12849/14]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The objective of the Student Assistance Fund (SAF) is to provide financial assistance for full-time higher education students who are experiencing financial difficulties whilst attending college. This includes students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds with ongoing needs for financial support, as well as students with other circumstances giving rise to short or longer-term financial difficulties, including family responsibilities, bereavement, family difficulties, accidents or health problems. The Fund is intended to support students whose participation in higher education would otherwise be at risk as a direct result of such difficulties.

Application to the fund is open to full-time registered students on courses of not less than one year's duration leading to an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification. The Fund is not open to students on access courses. In all cases, institutions are responsible for targeting the available resources at those students most in need. The Fund is managed at local level by the Access/Student Services Office in higher education institutions. It is not intended to extend the scope of the SAF at this stage.


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