103. Deputy Michael Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will consider increasing the amount of the reasonable living expenses, in particular for rural families for whom costs are higher; if she will consider allowing the cost of a second car to be included for rural families; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14484/17]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Deputy is referring to the Personal Insolvency Act 2012, which provides that in deciding what payments could reasonably be made by an insolvent person to their creditors, account must be taken of that person's reasonable living expenses.
Under section 23 of the Act, the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) is required to prepare and issue guidelines on what constitute a reasonable standard of living and reasonable living expenses, taking account of differing personal and household circumstances including the composition of the household, age, health, and any disability. Under the model developed by the ISI, which is based on a budgeting model originally developed in Ireland by the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice, reasonable living expenses are the expenses a person necessarily incurs in achieving a reasonable standard of living, this being one which meets a person’s physical, psychological and social needs.
Section 23 also provides that the guidelines shall have regard to the need to facilitate social inclusion, and active participation in economic activity, of the person and their dependants. Thus, reasonable living expenses may, for example, include the necessary costs of childcare or of a car which is needed to facilitate participation in economic activity.
Section 23(6) provides for the Guidelines to be reviewed at least annually by the ISI. The most recent Guidelines were published in July 2016 and are currently under review, including as regards the issues raised by the Deputy's question.