Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2781)

Richard Boyd Barrett


2781. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of reversing cuts to the back to education allowance. [33579/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The back to education allowance scheme (BTEA) is designed to support second chance education. It enables eligible persons to pursue education and to continue to receive income support for the duration of a course of study. The weekly rate of payment is linked to the persons' underlying payment, for example jobseekers allowance, and all budget increases in these rates are applied to BTEA recipients.

Government has provided almost €62 million for BTEA in 2019. This represents a considerable investment in supporting participants to acquire the necessary education and skills to re-enter the labour market.

The BTEA is not intended as an alternative form of funding for people entering or re-entering the third-level education system. The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant, payable by the Department of Education and Skills, represents the primary support for persons pursuing education.

Any rate changes would have to be considered in a budgetary context and within the scope of the overall resources available for welfare improvements.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.