Smith calls for guarantee on Minor Works Grant

– Minister must commit to grant payments in 2018 –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has called on the Minister for Education & Skills to give a clear commitment that the Minor Works Grant Scheme will be continued in 2018.

Deputy Smith submitted a series of questions to Minister Richard Bruton following queries from a number of schools throughout Cavan and Monaghan.


“While I welcome the fact that Minister Bruton has committed to paying the grant this year, after a long delay, I am very worried that he has appeared to rule out the provision of the grant for 2018. This is simply not on. This grant provides funds for essential maintenance work as well as for buying equipment or furniture. The majority of principals across Cavan and Monaghan depend on this payment for the day to day running of their schools – and it’s factored into the annual budget”, explained Deputy Brendan Smith.


“There has already been a serious delay in the roll out of the grant this year – it’s usually paid in November but the Minister only confirmed in December that it will be paid. While I welcome the commitment to pay it this year, we need a guarantee that it will be paid every year from now on.


“The only year that this grant was not rolled out was 2012, during the height of recession. It would be bizarre if, as the economy starts to turn, this were to be the key turning point at which the grant would not be paid.


“Fianna Fáil would like to see this essential grant, and others like it placed on a statutory funding so that it would be guaranteed. I will be calling for the Minor Works Grant to be included in the National Capital Plan so that there will be security for schools, and they will not have to depend on the discretion of a Minister”.

For Written Answer on : 14/12/2017

Question Number(s): 185 Question Reference(s): 54062/17

Department: Education and Skills

______________________________________________

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if provision is made in his department’s estimates for 2018 for a minor works grant scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter – Brendan Smith TD.

REPLY

There are significant demands placed on the 2018 education capital budget due to demographic pressures, and the imperative of ensuring a school place for every child.

I indicated to the House last week that it is unlikely the Minor Works Grant 2018/2019 will issue during the 2018 calendar year and that it will probably have to be paid early in 2019.

I should point out that the payment of the Minor Works Grant is not confined to any particular date and can in fact, if paid, be issued during any month of the school year.

As part of our longer term infrastructural planning, my Department will explore whether it will be possible to give greater certainty to primary schools in relation to the payment of the Minor Works Grant taking account of the Government’s 10 Year Public Capital Investment Plan, which is currently under development.


-Ends-

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