Written Answers. - Employment Incentive Scheme.

Toddy O'Sullivan

Question:

24 Mr. T. O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Labour if he will consider increasing the wage subsidy under the employment incentive scheme to £120 per week for the first year and to £100 per week for subsequent years to increase the employment opportunities for the long term unemployed.

Liam Kavanagh

Question:

35 Mr. Kavanagh asked the Minister for Labour if he will outline the basis for the reduction in the grant for the employment incentive scheme for 1991.

I propose to take Questions Nos. 24 and 35 together. I do not intend to increase the rates of payment under the employment incentive scheme which currently stand at £60 per week for a long term unemployed person and £45 for an early school leaver or other disadvantaged person. Any increase in the rates of the subsidy would, in the absence of additional Exchequer resources, effectively reduce the number of people who could be recruited under the scheme. At present, the long term unemployed represent about 40 per cent of those recruited under the scheme.

The slight reduction in the Exchequer allocation for the employment incentive scheme — from £2.464 million in 1990 to a proposed £2.448 million for 1991 — arises as a result of a slight increase in the EC assistance available for the scheme in 1991.

The available funding will allow the same level of activity in 1991 as in 1990.