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Written Answers - Community Employment Schemes

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 755 No. 1

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 120.  Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy  asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  the position regarding cuts to community employment schemes, where CE contracts expire on 6 April 2012, the reason the material allowance has been reduced from €20 a week to €10 a week since 1 January 2012 and training has been proposed since November 2011, and if this situation is to remain. [7377/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The reductions in training and employment grants were decided in the context of the available reports on Community Employment and the need to ensure that expenditure is targeted appropriately.

My Department will seek to minimise the effects of these changes on those schemes most affected and will examine the income and expenditure of schemes with reference to their capacity to absorb the changes made to the grant. The National Training Fund will provide €4.2 million for training on CE in 2012. In addition, SOLAS will continue to provide access to its training programmes to CE participants. The need for training on CE varies depending on the needs of participants and how long they have already been on the scheme and the training already received.

In the event that the changes in the training and material grant announced in the budget create financial difficulties for schemes, my Department will continue to provide funding for those schemes until the completion of the financial review. The internal guidance to officials is that up to €1,000 may be available to a scheme in respect of the training and materials grant for this year, subject to demonstration of need. Any training that has been fully approved through the Individual Learning Plan prior to Budget 2012 will be funded.

I would like to stress also that community employment participants can continue to avail of education and training programmes that are available to them free of charge from existing State-funded providers.

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