43 Mr. Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if the Government supports a proposal contained within a recent report to her Department that all local authorities should be exempt from providing community employment schemes within their administrative area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24521/98]
Written Answers - Community Employment Schemes.
47 Mr. Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her views on whether the reduction in the places on community employment, as provided for in the 1999 Book of Estimates, is in keeping with the commitment to increase places on community employment schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26109/98]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 43 and 47 together.
In its examination of the utilisation of community employment by statutory bodies the Deloitte & Touche review found linkages to the open labour market to be weak with few of the participants finding employment subsequently. For that reason the report recommended the gradual phasing out of community employment places in the statutory sector with the onus for delivery of the relevant service resting with the appropriate Government Department or statutory body. This was one of a number of recommendations in the review and already in the P2000 process some discussion has taken place with the social partners on the recommendations overall.
With regard to community employment in statutory bodies, I will obviously wish to discuss the issue with the relevant Ministers before making proposals for change. I will do this shortly. In any event I would wish to discuss the phasing in of any changes with the social partners. That said, the Government is acting to refine our active labour market programmes and attune them more to the principle of employability in the interest both of jobseekers and employers.
The 1999 Estimate for community employment in my Department's Vote provided for 37,500 places during the year as compared with an activity of 40,000 places in 1998 and was agreed with the Department of Finance against a background of dynamic jobs growth, falling unemployment, including a sharp fall in long-term unemployment, labour shortages in some sectors and claims by employers that they cannot fill vacancies.