Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1242)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1242. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) does not qualify for the back to work allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12849/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) scheme was established to encourage persons who are long term unemployed and wish to develop or take up self-employment opportunities. The scheme allows a qualified person to retain a reducing proportion of their social protection payment plus secondary benefits over two years. To qualify for this scheme a person must set up a self-employment business that has been approved by the Local Development Company or one of this Department’s case officers covering the area in which they live. The business venture must be deemed to be viable and sustainable and must not involve displacement of existing business in the same industry or service sector.

The person concerned has enquired on a number of occasions as to whether he qualifies for the Back To Work Enterprise Allowance scheme. To process his application he was requested to provide a lease covering the premises which he stated he is renting with his name on the lease, and to date has failed to do so. I understand from my Department that the person has also failed to establish that he is the owner of the business.

On 25 February 2019 the person contacted the Department again and asked about the possibility of getting on the Back To Work Enterprise Allowance. An official of the department informed him that the requested lease was still outstanding and that would have to be provided to facilitate a decision on his application. In the course of the conversation he informed the officer that he has, in the intervening period, established the business and that it is ‘’up and running’’. This fact further rules him out of participation on the Back To Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme as participants must engage in new business only.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.