Order of Business in the Dail
(Wicklow, Fine Gael) Link to this
Deputy Creed mentioned the food and drinks industry report earlier. The witnesses that were present at the joint committee on agriculture yesterday all highlighted the fact that since the groceries order was abolished, practices have taken place in this country in regard to the groceries sector that are totally unacceptable. Will the Government accept that it needs to introduce fair trade legislation?
Is legislation promised in this area?
There is not.
(Wicklow, Fine Gael)
I urge the Minister to reconsider.
Department of Social and Family Affairs
Question 29: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Affairs her plans to amend the mortgage interest supplement scheme; if she will make revised guidelines publically available; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
(Minister, Department of Social and Family Affairs; Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
The mortgage interest supplement scheme is designed to help people whose means are insufficient to meet their needs and who have difficulty meeting their mortgage repayment schedule. The scheme provides a short-term “safety net” within the overall social welfare scheme to ensure that people do not suffer hardship due to loss of employment. A supplement may be paid in respect of mortgage interest only to eligible people who are unable to meet their mortgage interest repayments in respect of a house which is their sole place of residence.
There are currently 12,900 people in receipt of mortgage interest supplement, an increase of 213% over the number in payment at end 2007. The assessment for the mortgage interest supplement scheme provides for a gradual withdrawal of payment as hours of employment or earnings increase. Those availing of part-time employment and/or training opportunities can continue to receive mortgage interest supplement subject to their satisfying the standard means assessment rules.
The review of the administration of the mortgage interest supplement scheme is progressing. The main purpose of the review is to consider how the mortgage interest supplement scheme can best meet its objective of catering for those who require assistance on a short-term basis, where they are unable to meet mortgage interest repayments on their sole place of residence. Legislative and operational issues arising in the current scheme are being examined, including the cap on hours of employment and the impact, if any, of the Financial Regulator’s statutory Code of Practice on Mortgage Arrears will have on the scheme. The review will also examine operational aspects of the scheme including best practice in the recording, collating and maintaining statistical data on the scheme.
Following consultation with the community welfare service, guidelines on specific and immediate operational issues for the community welfare officers have been updated and issued. Arrangements are being made to make the guidelines available on the Department’s website. The full review should be completed and a final report prepared by the end of 2009.