Written Answers. - Social Employment Schemes Participants.

Richard Bruton

Question:

173 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Labour whether he has considered extending the conditions of qualification for social employment schemes so that married women returning to work could qualify, in view of the fact that the restriction of the scheme to persons in receipt of unemployment assistance effectively disqualifies any person in a household where the father is earning an amount equivalent to the average industrial wage.

In brief, participants on the social employment scheme must be over 25 years of age and either (a) in receipt of unemployment assistance or (b) registered as unemployed for over 12 months and in receipt of unemployment benefit.

I have no plans, mainly because of the cost involved, to change the eligibility conditions to allow participation by persons who do not satisfy the current requirements.

Removing the conditions relating to unemployment compensation would increase the net cost of the scheme to the Exchequer and reduce the number who could be catered for with a given budget.