To ask the Minister for Transport if he will make a statement on the work to date of the Taxi Hardship Panel.
- Seán Ryan. (Nominated by: Róisín Shortall).
For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 7th July, 2004.
Ref No: 20426/04 Lottery: 52
Answered by the Minister for Transport
The Taxi Hardship Panel was an independent three person panel established in February 2002 to report in general terms on the nature and extent of extreme personal financial hardship that may have been experienced by individual taxi licence holders arising from loss of income as a direct result of the liberalisation of the taxi licensing regime, including an estimate of the numbers of individual licence holders involved, the likely financial implications and the recommended criteria for assessment of extreme personal financial hardship under any subsequent proposed response by Government. Some 2,000 submissions were received by the Panel and the Panel also met with taxi representative groups and with some individuals who made submissions before finalising its Report.
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 Government approved the implementation on a phased basis of these recommendations.
Area Development Management Limited (ADM) has been engaged to administer the Taxi Hardship Payments Scheme which is implementing the recommendations of the Taxi Hardship Panel Report in accordance with the relevant Government decision.
The Taxi Hardship Payments Scheme was formally launched in November 2003 with application forms being issued to all persons who made submissions to the Taxi Hardship Panel. In addition, newspaper advertisements were placed in the national newspapers on 6 November 2003 and 27 February 2004 inviting applications under the Scheme from individual taxi licence holders at 21 November 2000 who could demonstrate that they have suffered extreme personal financial hardship following loss of income arising from the liberalisation of the taxi licensing regime, who fall into one of the six categories in which payment was recommended by the Taxi Hardship Panel Report, and who are tax compliant. The closing date for receipt of applications under the Scheme was 30 April 2004.
A total of 1,860 applications have been received by ADM under the Scheme with a significant number, approximately 500, being received in the week immediately prior to the closing date. Hardship payments totalling €9,516,000 have been made to 791 qualifying persons under the Scheme to date. To date, 19 applicants have not qualified for a hardship payment. The time taken to process applications and to make payments depends on the completeness of the information and supporting documentation in each individual application.