Statement by the Minister of State for Employment, Community and Social Support at the Department of Social Protection, Kevin Humphreys T.D.

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Statement by the Minister of State for Employment, Community and Social Support at the Department of Social Protection, Kevin Humphreys T.D.

At Budget 2015 Press Conference

Tuesday, 14th October 2014

Working with the Tánaiste and my colleagues across Government, my number one priority is to help people who have lost their job to get back to work.

The €1.1 billion package secured in Budget 2015 for working age employment supports will ensure we have a strong and diverse range of programmes targeted so people get the help, placements and income supports they need to get back to work.

The Tánaiste has touched on the major developments within our Department but there a couple of items I want to highlight:

The doubling of the number of places on JobsPlus to 6,000 is recognition of the success of the scheme. As outlined at the launch of Pathways to Work last week, we want to work with employers to get those out of work for over a year, back into employment, and this scheme does that by supporting wage costs. This scheme is of particular help to the SME sector.

During my national tour, I have met with those who have benefited from the JobsPlus scheme and I've heard first-hand how it gives those who are out of work for over a year a second chance to get back into the workplace.

60% of those hired under JobsPlus to date have been out of work for over 2 years - this shows how immensely invaluable JobsPlus is to people who are experiencing long term unemployment.

We will continue to support those who want to set up their own business with an extra €10 million in funding allocated for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, bringing total funding there to nearly €125 million, supporting self-employment and entrepreneurship.

Along with getting people back to work, our Department helps to build communities through the Community Employment Scheme, the Rural Social Scheme and Community Services Programme.

We have secured funding of €373 million for Community Employment in 2015 which will fund 25,500 places across the country in over 1,000 projects.

This allocation will provide continued support for the new 3 year community-based childcare programme for participants with a budget of €29 million for 2,200 dedicated places.

€15 million is also committed to Drug Rehabilitation Schemes with over 1,000 places available.

This funding package will also make provision for the roll-out of new Health and Social Care programme for Community Employment to ensure participants have adequate qualifications to take-up employment opportunities in this area and to support local service delivery.

I also plan to hold annual meetings with the voluntary sponsors of Community Employment to hear their views of because it is at the heart of our role in getting people back to work with quality experience and training, while supporting social inclusion in every town, village and parish in Ireland.

Next year we will continue to offer 8,500 places on JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme.

We will also fund 3,000 places on Gateway, the Local Authority Social Employment Initiative.

There will be 8,000 work placements available on the Tús scheme next year.

The funding of €45 million for the Rural Social Scheme will ensure 2,600 participants continue to work at the heart of their communities.

The €45 million secured in this Budget for the Community Services Programme, will support 401 schemes that employ approximately 2,300 people.

There are still too many people out of work, but the €22 million committed in the Back to Work Family Dividend will incentivise those with young families to bridge the cost gap of getting back to work, and will be a crucial aid to help make work pay.

I know this was a priority for the Tánaiste that was secured in the Statement of Priorities in the summer, and I look forward to working with her on its implementation.

Our journey to recovery is a marathon not a sprint and we still have some distance to travel.

More people are getting back to work, but there are still too many unemployed but this package worth €1.1 billion is designed to ensure we tackle this as quickly as possible.


Last modified:14/10/2014

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