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Dail Debates

Parliamentary Question Re: Home Carer Tax Credit

QUESTION NO: 68

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan) 

by Deputy Mattie McGrath

for WRITTEN ANSWER on 11/10/2016  

To ask the Minister for Finance if he will introduce a home carers credit in Budget 2017 to support parents who stay at home to care for their children thereby giving greater parental choice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. 

REPLY.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that a Home Carer Tax Credit is already currently available to families where one parent works primarily in the home to care for children or the elderly.  Furthermore, I increased this credit in Budget 2016 to €1,000 and there is a commitment in the programme for Government to increase it further. In this regard, any further increase would generally be announced as part of the Budget.

The Home Carer Allowance (as it was then) was first introduced in Finance Act 2000 in the context of the commencement of a planned move to the full individualisation of the income tax system. Such a system would have resulted in a two-parent, single-earner family having the same net income from a given gross wage as a single individual i.e. it would no longer be possible for the tax bands and allowances of the non-earning spouse to be used by the earning spouse.  The Home Carer Allowance was introduced in order to ensure a balance was maintained between those going out to work and carers in the home, and in recognition of the choices families make in caring for dependents in the home.

In the case of PAYE taxpayers Revenue has, for a number of years, taken steps to automatically allow the Home Carer Credit without the person having to make a claim, wherever possible. For example, Revenue uses data it receives from the Department of Social Protection in relation to child benefit, together with other data from Revenue’s own records, to automatically grant the credit. Revenue also pre-populates the annual tax returns of self-assessed taxpayers with the Home Carer Credit where it was claimed in the previous year.  In 2014, the most recent year for which full information is available, the Home Carer Credit was claimed by approximately 80,900 families, at an exchequer cost of €60.9 million.

 

Categories
Local Issues Press Releases

“Serious questions around delivery of Tipperary’s Home Help hours,” McGrath

Elderly
Elderly

15-07-2016

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the HSE to explain why there is such a significant gap between the home help hour targets for Co. Tipperary and the actual amount of hours delivered to date. Deputy McGrath was speaking after it was confirmed to him by the HSE Head of Operations & Service Improvement for Older People that North Tipperary/East Limerick has only received 122,063 of its the 335,000 assigned hours for 2016; while South Tipperary has only received 95,180 of its 295,000 hours:

“I think many families of elderly people and indeed many older persons themselves will want to know why, when there is only 5 months left in 2016, that less than a third of South Tipperary’s home help hours appear to have been officially delivered. An equivalent situation would seem to apply to North Tipperary.

I accept that the HSE has provided the most up to date information to me but it remains the case that the delivery of this vital service is clearly not being rolled out or provided for in as efficient a manner as possible.

We must also remember that the targeted number of home help hours to be provided in 2016 are already significantly behind targets which were in place in 2012.

It was the previous government that effectively began cutting the amount home help hours from 2012 onwards so it is only right that the Minister for Health has said he will provide €10m to maintain the existing hours over the coming months.

This is the least they can do in order to row back on the social isolation and loss of assistance that was generated by those savage cuts.
I will also be demanding that the Minister give strict guarantees around ring fencing the additional €10m for a home care winter initiative he announced in the Dáil last month,” concluded Deputy McGrath.
ENDS

Categories
Health Local Issues Press Releases

“Just under 1000 people waiting for speech and language services in Tipperary/East Limerick,” McGrath

speech & language

13-07-2016

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called for a comprehensive schedule of when additional speech and language therapists will be recruited for Co. Tipperary. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he was informed by the HSE via Parliamentary Question that up to 586 are awaiting initial speech and language assessment in Tipperary South and Tipperary North/East Limerick, while an additional 401 people are awaiting initial speech and language therapy, a total of 987:

“The figures provided to me indicate that the north of the county fare’s much worse in terms of initial assessments while the south of the county has a worse time of it in relation to receiving initial therapy.

For example; 89 people in Tipperary North/East Limerick are waiting between 4-8months for assessment while in Tipperary South that number is 16.

Yet when we turn to initial therapy waiting times we find that 103 people in the south are waiting between 4-8months while in the north of the county/East Limerick that figure is just 34.

During the Government formation talks I raised this very specific issue with the Department of Health and was assured that further funding and staff recruitment was to go ahead.

In light of that the additional funding of €4 million that has provided for the Primary Care Speech and Language initiative in 2016 is welcome.

My only concern is that the delays in assessment and therapy are of such length that they may be causing irreparable long term damage particularly in children for whom it is vital that early intervention is prioritised,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

END.