To ask the Minister for Transport the amount from the taxi hardship fund which has been distributed; the maximum amount paid out; the number of persons who have applied; and the approximate timescale for applicants to be heard and receive their payments.
The Taxi Hardship Payments Scheme is based on the
recommendations and parameters set out in the Taxi Hardship Panel Report, as
approved by Government.
The Report of the Panel recommended the establishment of a scheme to provide payments to individual taxi licence holders who fall into one of six categories that the Panel assessed as having suffered extreme personal financial hardship arising from taxi liberalisation. The payments range from €3,000 to €15,000 depending on the category of hardship involved.
The Taxi Hardship Payments Scheme is being administered by Area Development Management Limited (ADM) on behalf of my Department. I understand from the company that a total of 1,938 applications have been received by ADM under the Scheme. Hardship payments totalling €16,349,000 have been approved in respect of 1,412 qualifying persons under the Scheme up to 7 February 2005. The maximum payment in any individual case is €15,000 in accordance with the recommendations of the Taxi Hardship Panel Report. 327 applicants have not qualified for a hardship payment and a further 101 application files have been closed where the applicant did not submit the requisite requested information or documentation to facilitate the consideration of their application.
I expect the applications which remain on hands with ADM to be dealt with in the coming weeks, and for all cases, with the possible exception of any appeals that may arise, to be considered by end March 2005. Sufficient funds have been made available to ADM to enable them to meet the cost of all qualifying applicants under the Scheme.