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Written Answers - Community Employment Schemes

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 335.  Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith  asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  if she will refer to community employment schemes previously run by FÁS and comment on the changes recently introduced and the arrangements now in place or are proposed to assist community organisations such as scout troops for example who used to rely on FÁS sponsored CE schemes to take on a worker which they now cannot retain due to the change in the operation of the CES that is previously CES worker was paid a higher rate than the social welfare rate for taking up a CE scheme but since this additional income was removed, there is now no incentive for a person to come off unemployment payments and such community organisations are left without the benefit of a CES; if she will verify that all such schemes will be offered a competent worker; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16918/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The budget for Community Employment (CE) in 2012 is €315 million and the number of places remains at the previous level of 23,300. The changes announced in the Budget had no effect on the rates paid to CE participants, which remain unchanged at 2011 levels. As announced in Budget 2012, new entrants to the Community Employment (CE) programme will not be able to claim another social welfare-funded payment at the same time, but will continue to receive the standard additional €20 CE participation bonus on top of the amount of their original payment.

All persons engaging in CE are still at least €20 better off financially than they were on their social welfare payment. They also have the opportunity of doing valuable work, benefiting both themselves through work experience and training and benefiting their communities in the course of their work. The Community Employment scheme vacancies continue to be heavily over-subscribed, so there are no issues with filling the available places on the scheme.

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