Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Questions (179)

Michael Lowry

Question:

179. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans for the rural social scheme for 2013 and 2014; and if she will provide a guarantee that this scheme will be continued in its current form. [10533/13]

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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 2013 amount to €45m, which should enable the scheme to continue as in previous years but does not allow for the recruitment above the numbers stated above. Allocation levels in 2014 will be determined as part of the annual budget process. The Department of Social Protection has recently published a review of employment support schemes which, together with the outcome of the focussed policy assessment of the RSS which the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has indicated it intends to conduct this year, will inform future policy developments of the scheme.

Question No. 180 withdrawn.