Minister Burton welcomes continuing Live Register reduction


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Register below 400,000 for first time since May 2009

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D., has today (31st October 2013) welcomed the continuing reduction in the Live Register, which has fallen beneath 400,000 for the first time in over four years.

While stressing that there remained a long way to go in addressing the unemployment challenge, the Minister said it was a further sign that the economy was recovering and people were getting back to work.

"There are now 396,512 people on the Live Register, 23,000 fewer than this time last year and almost 34,000 fewer than in October 2011. This is a very welcome turnaround considering that the Register was firmly on an upward trajectory towards 500,000 when this Government took office.

"Tackling unemployment is the Government's number one priority through Pathways to Work and the Action Plan for Jobs, and today's figures are proof that those strategies are getting people back to work.

"There are still far too many people on the Live Register, and unemployment will remain the most pressing challenge for the foreseeable future, but we are moving decisively in the right direction.

"Seasonal factors which affect the Register may see a temporary increase in the December-January period. However, the overall pattern of a sustained long-term reduction in the Register is now clear.

"I am confident that the reforms being undertaken in the Department to provide the best possible supports for jobseekers, together with innovative schemes such as JobsPlus which help employers with the cost of hiring new people, will ensure the number of people returning to work continues to increase."

The Minister highlighted three new ways the Department is supporting jobseekers: schemes like JobsPlus; increased funding for Family Income Supplement; and rapid restoration of Jobseeker's payments following periods of seasonal or temporary work.

JobsPlus is the new wage subsidy scheme for employers where the State pays approximately €1 in €4 of the typical cost of hiring someone who has been on the Live Register for 12 months or more. See www.jobsplus.ie

Family Income Supplement is a weekly tax-free top-up payment to employees on low pay with children. It helps families continue in work and build towards financial independence. At present, more than 40,000 working families with a total of more than 90,000 children benefit from the scheme. The Department spent €224 million on FIS in 2012 and this is expected to increase to over €280 million in 2014.

The Minister said: "The increased funding for FIS shows how the Department supports people who are in work by topping up their income as well as those out of work. FIS is an absolutely crucial support for many working families."

On restoration of Jobseeker's payments, the Minister said: "Coming up to Christmas, it is especially important that those undertaking seasonal work do not have any concerns about their Jobseeker's payment being restored if and when that works ends. Where a person who is getting Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance takes up temporary work or avails of a short-term training course for up to eight weeks, the Department will temporarily suspend their claim so that it can be reinstated without delay when the work or training finishes."

A customer who is in receipt of either of these two payments and who receives an offer of temporary employment or a training course should contact their local social welfare office and provide them with the relevant details of the work or course that they are undertaking. Similarly, they should contact their local social welfare office without delay when the course or employment finishes.

PRESS RELEASE ENDS

Note for Editors:
The Department of Social Protection is the lead Department on Pathways to Work, which complements the Government's Action Plan for Jobs. The Action Plan for Jobs, overseen by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D., is designed to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, jobs-rich economy, while Pathways to Work aims to ensure that as many as possible of those newly created jobs go to people on the Live Register.

Last modified:31/10/2013
 

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