The Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has admitted to Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen that the review of cuts to Community Employment Schemes will not result in a reversal of the cuts.
Deputy Cowen, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection, asked Minister Burton a series of questions about the cuts facing CE schemes around the country. In each written response, the Minister said: “A likely outcome of the review is that the schemes will no longer receive a standard grant per participant”
Deputy Cowen commented, “What is the point of having a review if it will still result in cuts to Community Employment schemes across the country? Government TDs have been under considerable pressure to justify the decision to cut grants for CE schemes at a time when providing job opportunities for the long-term unemployed should be top of the agenda. To deflect controversy the Government kicked the matter down the road by announcing a review of the cuts.
“I have always had concerns that this review was more about optics than anything else. Now we have firm indications from the Minister that this is indeed the case, before she has even completed her review. The Minister has confirmed that despite her ‘review’, grants for CE schemes will still be cut. She said there will be some discretion in respect of the training and materials grant this year but the onus is on individual schemes to make an appeal to the Department.
“It is now clear that Community Employment Schemes around the country will still be downgraded despite Minister Burton’s ‘review’. Community groups, the long-term unemployed and employers involved in CE Schemes are still in the dark about what these cuts will mean for them. It’s about time for the Minister to come clean on this issue and put an end to this farcical review.”