Written Answers. - Multiple Births Grant.

Joe Walsh


174 Mr. J. Walsh asked the Minister for Social Welfare the plans, if any, he has to extend the multiple births grant to include twins. [8449/96]

A special once-off grant of £200 payable on the birth of twins was introduced in 1993. Previously, grants were only payable in respect of multiple births of triplets or more children. In recognition of the significant additional costs involved for parents in multiple births, I made provision in the 1996 budget for an increase, from £200 to £500, in the grant payable on the birth of twins and for the introduction of a new grant of £500 which is payable on the twins reaching the ages of 4 and 12 effective from 1 January 1996.

The grants are intended to assist with the particular financial pressures at birth and as the twins enter primary and secondary school. These improvements, which were provided for by way of section 5 of the Social Welfare Act, 1996, are in addition to the £2 increase being provided in the monthly rates of child benefit from September next and the £7 increase provided for September 1995 payable for each child.