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All community employment schemes under review, Minister confirms

Joan Burton said that schemes which “provide value for money” do not have “anything to fear” from the review.

Minister Joan Burton
Minister Joan Burton
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

COMMUNITY EMPLOYMENT SCHEMES nationwide will be reviewed as part of cost-cutting measures in the Budget, the Minister for Social Protection has said.

The schemes, which are designed to help the long-term unemployed to get back into the jobs market by offering part-time work placements, will have to submit their accounts to government officials to uncover unnecessary spending.

Minister Joan Burton said that “schemes which provide value for money and a quality experience [...] do not have anything to fear” from the review.

The Community Employment Schemes were the subject of protests outside the Dáil yesterday, with demonstrators gathering to call for the reversal of Budget cuts.

The new Social Welfare Bill will see the grant received by the schemes to provide training and materials to participants slashed by two-thirds – from €1,500 to €500 per jobseeker per year.

One union official told the Irish Examiner that many schemes could be forced to close down as a result of the cut, which he said risks leaving them without enough money to cover costs.

Minister Burton said Government officials “will meet representatives of all the community employment schemes and will go through their budgets with them”. She said the most important objective was “to ensure that the people who participate in community employment schemes get a quality experience, including appropriate training, which will enable them to be of service to their community and to get a job”.

More: Government expects to exceed social welfare savings target>

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Michael Freeman

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