Dáil Éireann - Volume 450 - 22 March, 1995
Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.
Mr. Ellis Mr. Ellis
172. Mr. Ellis asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will grant a free fuel allowance to people whose private pensions or resources are estimated at less than £20 per week. [5942/95]
Minister for Social Welfare (Proinsias De Rossa) Proinsias De Rossa
Minister for Social Welfare (Proinsias De Rossa): The national fuel scheme assists householders who are on long term social welfare or health board payments and who are unable to provide for their own heating needs. A payment of £5 per week is paid to eligible households for 26 weeks, from mid-October to mid-April.
An additional smokeless fuel allowance of £3 per week, was introduced in October 1990, to assist people living in the built up areas of Dublin to help meet the additional costs arising from the ban on the sale of bituminous coal in these areas. This allowance has been extended to cover the Cork city and adjacent areas to coincide with the ban on the sale of bituminous coal which came into effect there on 13 February 1995.
At present, a contributory pensioner and members of his/her household, can have means up to £5 a week in addition to the social welfare pension and qualify for the fuel allowance. In the 1995 budget, I have increased this £5 means limit to £10 with effect from the start of the 1995-96 fuel scheme in October 1995. Increasing the means limit by a further £10, i.e. from £10 to £20, would have financial implications which could only be considered in a budgetary context.
I will be looking at ways of improving the scheme in the light of resources  available to me and the other demands on resources.
Dáil Éireann 450 Written Answers. Social Welfare Benefits.