Dáil Éireann - Volume 489 - 31 March, 1998

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

207. Proinsias De Rossa asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if, in regard to his estimated cost of £16 million for reducing the age eligibility for the free schemes including electricity and gas allowance, television licence and telephone rental, he will give a breakdown of this figure by each category and for each year of reduction that is from 75 years of age to 70. [8062/98]

Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): The estimated full year cost of extending the free schemes of free electricity allowance, free television licence and free telephone rental allowance to all persons aged between 70 and 75, regardless of meeting the other eligibility criteria, is £16 million. This includes all persons in receipt of old age contributory and non-contributory pensions and widow's-widower's contributory and non-contributory pensions. In addition, there is a small number of persons in this age group in receipt of carer's allowance, invalidity pension and blind pension.

The age breakdown for those between the ages of 70 and 75 years of age relates to 1996. The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

[607][608]Table

Details of Estimated Cost of £16 million

Age

Free Electricity

Free TV Licence

Free Telephone Rental

Total

(£m)

(£m)

(£m)

(£m)

70

0.92

0.46

1.33

2.71

71

0.92

0.46

1.33

2.71

72

0.92

0.46

1.33

2.71

73

0.92

0.46

1.33

2.71

74

0.86

0.43

1.25

2.54

75

0.86

0.43

1.25

2.54

Overall Total

5.4

2.7

7.8

15.9, say £16 million