Written Answers. - Youth Unemployment.


asked the Minister for Labour if he is aware that a recent major study (details supplied) has shown that Exchequer-funded job creating initiatives are unlikely to have a major impact on the level of youth unemployment; and, against this background, if he will state the policies he intends introducing to reverse the present high level of youth unemployment.

I am aware of the study referred to. I have also noted its conclusions to the effect that the solution to the problem of school leaver unemployment lies in finding a solution to the overall level of unemployment and that the issue of unemployment needs to be tackled by general economic policies.

The Government has always accepted that the main plank of any policy to reduce youth unemployment must be a sustained attack on unemployment at all levels. The Deputy will be aware of the Government's proposals dealing with employment which are contained in Building on Reality 1985-87.

The Deputy will also be aware of the series of initiatives announced in the Dáil by the Taoiseach on 23 October last to stimulate new employment which included, inter alia, the doubling of the number of new employees who will become eligible for aid under the employment incentive scheme together with a scheme of exemption from PRSI contriubtions by employers in respect of additional new full time employees who have been on the live register for at least six months.

The study in question also concluded that while youth-oriented job creation initiatives are unlikely to have a major impact on the level of youth unemployment, there was a need for policy initiatives to provide for the transition from education to the labour market and to reduce inequalities in the youth labour market through the targeting of schemes at disadvantaged groups.

I am satisfied that the retention of such schemes is fully justified both for the social reasons which the study acknowledged and also their positive contributions to easing the unemployment situation for young people. This is borne out by the findings of my Department's survey of 1983 school-leavers.

The schemes in question are kept under review to ensure that they are achieving their objectives.

Finally, the White Paper on manpower policy, which the Government will publish soon, will set out the relationship between employment policy and job creation programmes and the future direction of such programmes.