Dáil Éireann - Volume 484 - 09 December, 1997

Written Answers. - Job Creation.

116. Mr. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the proposals, if any, she has to encourage increased employment by way of new incentives, particularly in relation to the long-term unemployed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22309/97]

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Miss Harney): The 1998 budget contains a number of initiatives designed to enhance the employment prospects of long-term unemployed people. They include a special tax allowance in the first year of employment of £3,000, plus £1,000 for each child, for persons unemployed for one year or more who take up a job. The allowance will be tapered down over a three year period; a double tax deduction in respect of wages is being introduced for employers who employ people who are unemployed for one year or more. This double deduction can last for a period of up to three years provided the former unemployed person is still employed by them; an additional 1,000 places are being made available under the job initiative programme and an additional 1,000 places are being made available under the community employment part-time job initiative. An additional 5,000 places are being made available under the back to work allowance scheme. The area enterprise allowance is being extended nationwide and the calculation of family income supplement — FIS — will be on a net rather than gross basis.

In addition to these measures, the Government recently approved a full review of the community employment — CE — programme. The review, which is currently at the tendering process stage will be carried out by external consultants. It will be comprehensive, covering all categories of persons currently eligible to participate in CE and will examine, inter alia, current eligibility criteria, duration of placements, type of placements-training to be offered etc. In addition to evaluating the success of the community employment programme in achieving its objectives, the review will be expected to comment on whether CE is an appropriate intervention in current labour market [613] conditions in terms of re-integrating the long-term unemployed into sustainable employment.