Tuesday, 10 February 2004

Ceisteanna (311)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

387 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Transport the person who set out the eligibility criteria for the taxi hardship payment scheme; the reason the minimum loan outstanding at the date of deregulation was set at €40,000 under category five; if this regulation will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3761/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Transport)

The taxi hardship panel was an independent three person panel established to report in general terms on the nature and extent of extreme personal financial hardship that may have been experienced by individual taxi licence holders arising from loss of income as a direct result of the liberalisation of the taxi licensing regime. The panel's report recommended the establishment of a scheme to provide payments to individual taxi licence holders who fall into one of six categories that the panel assessed as having suffered extreme personal financial hardship arising from taxi liberalisation. The Government approved the implementation on a phased basis of these recommendations.

Category five of the panel's report refers to particular circumstances where large loan repayments are outstanding and these have been secured against a family home. The report recommends a hardship payment under this category to qualifying persons, ranging from €6,000 to €12,000, depending on the amount of the loan outstanding, the minimum loan amounts ranging between €40,000 and €100,000.

The taxi hardship payments scheme is based on the recommendations and parameters set out in the taxi hardship panel report, as approved by Government. The scheme allows individuals who find, due to their particular circumstances, that they fall outside the requirements for a particular category of hardship to complete the application form and submit their details, including information regarding the extenuating circumstances involved in their hardship, for consideration by Area Development Management Limited, which has been engaged to administer and manage the scheme. I have no proposals to depart from the terms of the panel report or the Government's decision on it.