Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (2642, 2645, 2775, 2779)

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

2642. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of increasing the back to school and footwear allowance by €50. [31664/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

2645. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of restoring the back to school allowance for clothing and footwear to pre-2011 levels. [31696/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

2775. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full year cost of increasing the back to school allowance by €10. [33573/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

2779. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of increasing the back to school clothing and footwear allowance by €100. [33577/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2642, 2645, 2775 and 2779 together.

The back to school clothing and footwear allowance (BSCFA) scheme provides a once-off payment to eligible families to assist with the costs of clothing and footwear when children start or return to school each autumn. The Government has provided €56.3m for the scheme in 2019 which operates from June to September.

The 2019 scheme opened on 1 June. Almost 115,000 customers, with some 210,000 children, were awarded the allowance automatically from a matching exercise on the Department's computer systems and did not have to make an application. These customers were notified during June and received their payments in the week commencing 8 July.

The rate of payment for the 2019 scheme was increased by €25 to €150 in respect of children aged 4 to 11 and to €275 for children aged 12 years and over in second level education. End of year records show that under the 2018 scheme payments were made to 154,000 families in respect of over 266,000 children at a cost of €47.3 million.

Using the total number of children covered by the scheme in 2018 as a basis, the additional cost to increase the BSCFA rates by €10, €50 and €100 is set out in the following Tabular Statement.

Using the same basis, the additional cost of restoring the rates to the 2011 levels, i.e. to €200 for children aged 4 to 11 and to €305 for children aged 12 years and older, would be an additional €11.1 million

Any increases to the rates of payment for the BSCFA scheme would have to be considered in a budgetary context.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Tabular Statement

Amount of increase (per child)

Estimated Additional Cost

€10

€2.7 million

€50

€13.3 million

€100

€26.6 million