Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Roger T. Garland

Question:

194 Mr. Garland asked the Minister for Social Welfare if his attention has been drawn to the fact that while his Department grant senior citizens a free black and white television licence, black and white television sets can no longer be purchased, bar portable ones; that television repair shops no longer repair black and white sets; and that senior citizens now have to find the extra money to obtain a colour licence if they wish to comply with the law; if he will extend this free licence to cover colour sets; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

A person who satisfies the conditions for receipt of a free electricity or free natural gas allowance is entitled to a free television licence for a black and white television. If a licence for a colour television is necessary the difference in cost must be paid by the recipient.

The extension of the scheme to colour television licences would have significant financial implications which could only be considered in a budgetary context.