Written Answers. - Grant Payments.

John Bruton

Question:

755 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the number of applicants received to date for the farm assist scheme; when the full details of the scheme will be available; and the way in which the information will be disseminated for potential applicants in County Meath. [1776/99]

The legislative basis for the new farm assist scheme will be contained in the Social Welfare Bill, 1999 which will be published shortly.

In the interim, my Department is preparing application forms and information leaflets which it is intended will be made available immediately the legislation is enacted.

The new scheme will be the subject of an intensive nationwide information campaign, which will include close co-operation with the various farming organisations, with a view to maximising awareness of the scheme among farmers who would potentially benefit.
I should point out that, until such time as the new scheme comes into operation, it is open to farmers on low incomes to apply for the income support available under the unemployment assistance (smallholders assistance) scheme. Similarly, those already receiving support under this scheme may apply to have their means re-assessed at any time if they consider that their means have decreased since they were last subject to a means assessment.