The number of self-employed people availing of dental treatment, optical exams and medical appliances is on the increase across Donegal a Fine Gael councillor has said.

Cllr. Jimmy Kavanagh encouraged self-employed people to use the scheme which is proving to be a major success.

“In 2017, Fine Gael extended the Treatment Benefit Scheme to self-employed persons for the first time. This was a major milestone in terms of the equal treatment of small and medium business owners who are the backbone of the economy in towns and villages across Donegal.

Between the 1st January and 30th November 2018 alone, 6008self-employed people in Donegal took up the treatment benefit scheme, availing of dental treatment, eye exams and medical appliances. The Dental treatment scheme was the most popular amongst the self-employed with 4052 self-employed people in the county availing of the service.  1865 availed of optical treatment benefit.

“The introduction of this new benefit for the self-employed creates greater fairness in the system of welfare provision and reflects the Government’s commitment to creating the best possible environment for business to thrive.

“The Government wants to encourage enterprise and support those who drive job creation in

Donegal. We now have more people at work in the State than ever before and Fine Gael will continue to support those who create jobs and rejuvenate local economies.

Meanwhile 2019 brings new supports for self-employedpeople in Donegal who will become eligible for Jobseeker’s Benefit for the first time.

Fine Gael’s ‘New Deal for the Self-Employed’ as outlined in our plan Taking Ireland Forward Together envisages a totally reformed social insurance system. It will work to provide the self-employed with a safety net in circumstances where their business or careers are interrupted.

“We also plan to expand other benefits, such as carer’s benefit, in the years ahead. The equalisation of the Earned Income Tax Credit with the PAYE Tax Credit is also part of this agenda to ensure the self-employed are properly recognised. For the 150,000 self-employed workers who make up an important part of our economy, the Earned Income Credit will be increased by a further €200 to €1,350.

“This approach provides greater security to many of those small business operators who work hard to create jobs and generate revenue in their local economy,” Councillor Kavanagh said.

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