Connaughton welcomes decision on assets and education grants

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The decision that assets of small businesses and farmers will not be used in the calculation of means for student grants this year was welcomed today by Paul Connaughton T.D.

The East Galway T.D. said that at a time when small businesses and farmers are struggling for a combination of reasons, including a poor economic environment and bad weather, it is only reasonable that their assets, which don’t necessarily generate any income, would not be counted as means for the purposes of student grants.

‘I have been a vociferous opponent of the plan to take capital assets into account for student grants as I believe it will mean that many people whose parents are self-employed will be denied a third level education.  Whether it is a town centre property or a field in a valuable area, unless this generates an income, it should not be used in a means calculation.

‘Many farm families and families who own small businesses are already struggling to meet their basic weekly needs, and are not in a position to support a child through college.  I believe that for many small business owners, a change to include capital assets would be a further incentive to close a business that is not generating sufficient income to support a family and in the long run it will be detrimental to our economy as it will disincentivise becoming a self-employed person.

I very much welcome confirmation that assets will not be included in this year’s means calculations, but I have grave concerns over the whole concept and will continue to campaign in the strongest manner against this proposal as I believe it will place the children of owners of small businesses and farmers at a great disadvantage in terms of third level education.’