Thursday, 13 December 2012

Questions (99)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

99. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to cease or change the rules of the rural social scheme; if she has received a report recommending this; the reasons given for such a recommendation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [56111/12]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The rural social scheme provides income support for farmers and those engaged in fishing who have an entitlement to specified social welfare payments. Participants are engaged for 19½ hours per week to provide certain services of benefit to rural communities. The scheme currently provides work opportunities for around 2,600 participants and 130 supervisory staff. The funds allocated for 2012 amount to €45.66m with €45.00m provisionally allocated for 2013. This level of funding will allow the scheme to continue along the same lines in 2013 as in previous years but does not allow for the recruitment above the numbers stated above. The operation of the rural social scheme is governed by a comprehensive set of rules which are revised on an on-going basis as a result of changes in the operating environment and the introduction of, or changes to, other schemes or other conditions that impact on the scheme’s operations.