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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 4 May 1995

Vol. 452 No. 4

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Séamus Hughes


68 Mr. Hughes asked the Minister for Social Welfare the number of persons in Mayo in receipt of non-contributory old age pension. [8171/95]

Séamus Hughes


69 Mr. Hughes asked the Minister for Social Welfare the percentage increase in non-contributory old age pension from April 1975, to date; and the corresponding figures for the rate of inflation from 1975 to date. [8172/95]

It is proposed to take Questions Nos. 68 and 69 together.

At end March 1995 there were approximately 7,250 people in Mayo in receipt of an old age non-contributory pension.

The rate of pension increased by 572 per cent in the period 1975 to date while inflation in the same period is estimated at 359 per cent, resulting in a real increase in the rate of pension of over 46 per cent.

In addition these pensioners are entitled to the free fuel allowance, and to the other free schemes i.e. free travel, free electricity allowance, free TV licence and free telephone rental allowance subject to the eligibility conditions applicable to each scheme.

Seamus Brennan


70 Mr. S. Brennan asked the Minister for Social Welfare the cost of the fuel allowance scheme for the season just ended as compared to the same period last year; the amount provided for the next scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8173/95]

The fuel scheme assists people who are in receipt of long term social welfare or health board payments and who are unable to provide for their own heating needs. A payment of £5 per week is paid to eligible households. An additional smokeless fuel allowance of £3 per week was introduced in 1990 to assist people living in the built up areas of Dublin to help meet the additional costs arising from the ban on the sale of bituminous coal. This allowance was extended to the Cork city and adjacent areas in February 1995.

The fuel scheme runs for a 26 week period from mid October to mid April. Expenditure on the fuel scheme, however, is recorded in the Department's appropriation account on a calendar year basis and the information is not readily available in the form requested by the Deputy.

The following figures provide expenditure on a calendar year basis i.e. for the periods January to April — the last 15 weeks of the previous year's heating season, and October to December — the first 11 weeks of the next heating season. Final figures are not yet available for expenditure on the fuel scheme in 1994. However, provisional returns indicate that expenditure in 1994 will be in the region of £39.9 million. In 1993 expenditure on fuel was £37.55 million. A sum of £44.5 million has been provided for the fuel scheme in the 1995 Estimates.