To the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection her views on a cessation of job activation schemes such as JobBridge, if so, when she expects these schemes to wind up; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Anthony Lawlor.
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 25th November, 2014.
R E P L Y
Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Kevin Humphreys):
In response to the major increases in unemployment in the fallout of the crisis, an unprecedented programme of policy reform in the social welfare system and of organisational change was undertaken by the Department of Social Protection. Through consecutive iterations of the Pathways to Work Strategy and the Youth Guarantee, labour market activation policies have been radically overhauled and the Department of Social Protection has been transformed from the passive benefits provider of old to a public employment service that is actively assisting people back to work, training or education.
Given the number of unemployed people, it is not surprising that the numbers making use of the suite of job activation schemes have increased dramatically since this Government entered office in 2011. To meet the needs of the unemployed, the scale and funding of these schemes has been increased substantially.
However, in the interest of ensuring cost effectiveness and value for money for the taxpayer, all job activation schemes, including JobBridge, are kept under annual review in the context of the budgetary cycle.
In the longer term, as unemployment levels are reduced, the continuation of the current suite of job activation schemes will be evaluated and any changes that are appropriate to the changing circumstances will be considered.