Back to Work Enterprise Allowance payment and School Meals programme in Budget 2017

Fine Gael Seanad spokesperson on Education & Skills and Limerick City Senator, Maria Byrne has welcomed the increase of Back to Education payment in Budget 2017.

Welcoming this increase, Senator Byrne said: “The current Back to Education Allowance will increase by €5 and a new €500 annual Cost of Education Allowance will be made available to back to education allowance participants with children. This will help parents, including lone parents, to return to education. In addition to this from September 2017, young jobseekers participating in the Back to Education scheme will receive the full adult rate of €193 per week.  Their current rate of weekly payment is €160.  This 21% increase demonstrates the State’s support for young jobseekers who seek to enhance their skills”

The Senator continued: “In addition to these measures listed above the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance will also see a proportionate increase. The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance will become available more quickly after becoming unemployed, with the qualification period reduced to 9 months, down from 12 months”

The Senator further stated: “I am also very happy to announce that more than 50,000 extra children will benefit from increased funding for the School Meals programme, providing breakfasts and lunches, which will rise by €5.7 million to €47.7 million in 2017. Of these, some 35,000 extra school breakfasts will be provided in non-DEIS schools from the start of the new school year and will be expanded in future years.”

The Senator concluded by saying: “Fine Gael is ensuring that we protect our economy, and use our economic progress to improve people’s lives. I can think of no better way to do this than investing in education, ensuring equality of opportunity and a brighter future for all our young people.”