The Taoiseach has indicated to the Dáil that Minister Joan Burton’s review of cuts to Community Employment Schemes is essentially meaningless.
Answering questions from Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Barry Cowen yesterday (Tuesday, 13 December) the Taoiseach confirmed that that the review will have no bearing on legislation giving effect to the cut of up to 66% in training and material grants for Community Employment schemes next year.
Speaking afterwards Deputy Cowen commented, “Minister Burton has come under pressure to reconsider her moves to slash grants for CE schemes from next month and she indicated that she would review the changes to each Community Employment Scheme. But the Taoiseach has now said that this can have no bearing on the 66% cuts to CE grants.
“What is the point in reviewing a damaging cut like this when there can be no changes as a result of the so-called ‘review’? If the Taoiseach says the 66% grant reductions are inevitable, then Minister Burton’s promise of reviews can only be a meaningless gesture designed to simply appease her backbenchers.
“CE programmes support people in long-term unemployed to get back to work by offering part-time and temporary. From next month there will be a reduction of €1,000, or 66%, per participant in the Community Employment (CE) programme. Much like the cutbacks in the Back to Education Allowance, the cuts to CE schemes will hit people trying to up-skill following long term unemployment. This from a Government that claims job creation is its first priority.
“I am urging Minister Burton to clarify this immediately. Will all CE programmes be subject to her 66% grant cuts? Or is she reconsidering this damaging move?”