Tuesday, 15 October 2002
Dáil Eireann Debate
142. Mr. Allen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of jobs which have been lost due to the curtailment of the community employment schemes; and if her attention has been drawn to the major reduction in community-based services due to the community employment scheme cutbacks. [17900/02]
143. Mr. Hogan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will intervene with FÁS in order to ensure that people with the disability allowance continue to be participants in the community employment schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17996/02]
149. Mrs. B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the numbers currently employed in the community employment scheme; the numbers likely to be employed in the scheme by the end of 2002; the reason there has been a reduction in the numbers employed in the scheme since the beginning of 2002; if it is envisaged that the numbers employed in the scheme will be further reduced by the end of 2002 and into 2003; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18319/02]
In accordance with the Government's decision in 1999 to restructure community employment, participation levels are gradually being reduced reflecting the significant reduction in the numbers of the long-term unemployed and the shift in emphasis away from work experience programmes to training, from which there is a greater level of progression to employment. CE is a temporary work experience programme and participation is usually limited to a period of one to three years depending on the age and duration of unemployment of the participant when commencing on the programme.
CE participation levels are expected to finish the year at a level of 25,000 places. There are currently in the region of 26,000 participants on the programme. The reduction in numbers in 2002 is due to the ongoing mainstreaming of schools places, the continued restructuring of the programme as outlined in the PPF and the need to run the programme within the budget available. The average participation rate on CE in 2002 is expected to be 28,000 at a cost of €333 million. People with disabilities, including persons in receipt of the disability allowance, are currently eligible and will remain eligible to participate in CE subject to approval, as appropriate, by the Department of Social and Family Affairs and compliance with the usual programme criteria.
FÁS is currently undertaking an internal review of CE, which will include an assessment of the role of the programme in regard to the provision of community services. The PPF-mandated review of active labour market programmes is also being progressed under the aegis of the standing committee on the labour market chaired by my Department. In addition, a cross-departmental senior officials group is considering options for the future of CE and the provision of community services. The outcome of these various initiatives will inform the Government's consideration of options for the future delivery of certain community services and appropriate levels of CE for 2003 and future years.
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