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Increased protections introduced for self-employed

The increases in social welfare payments introduced in Budget 2017 have come into effect over the last two weeks. All social welfare recipients will have seen increases in their payments to the value of €5 per week, says Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton.

“The increases were introduced on a staggered basis beginning on March 8th and ending on 17th March and while they are modest it is a step in the right direction. Fine Gael wants to ensure that everyone in our society benefits from any improvements in our economy. For a lot of people who are long term social welfare recipients, this €5 increase per week will be the first increase in the last 8 years”, noted Minister Stanton.

“In addition to the €5 increase in basic social welfare payments, Fine Gael is also making changes to improve the situation for self-employed people. Many people who had previously been PAYE workers, moved towards self-employment in recent years and we want to support these self-employed people in their creation of employment opportunities.

“We have already extended paternity benefit to the self-employed and restored benefits including the invalidity pension, which can be accessed without a means test if they become sick or injured and can no longer work as a result.

“Changes to the qualification period for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA), were recently introduced, to facilitate workforce participation by one parent families, people with disabilities and farmers. This scheme is designed to encourage people who are unemployed to set up their own business by allowing them to continue to receive State income supports for two years, while getting business advice and support.

“Fine Gael believes in equality of opportunity for all and we want to ensure that everyone who can work is encouraged to do so and that those who can’t are adequately supported through our social welfare system.