Written Answers. - Summer Jobs Scheme.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

133 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of students in County Offaly who participated in the student summer job scheme each year since 1993; the number who qualified for the extra allowance due to the fact that their parents were on a qualifying social welfare income; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3663/03]

The student summer jobs scheme was first introduced in 1993 to provide income support for less well-off students who were disqualified under social welfare legislation from receiving unemployment assistance during the summer months. The scheme allowed students to take up part-time work useful to their community and to receive payment for this work. When the scheme was introduced unemployment levels in Ireland were among the highest in the EU and students found it difficult to obtain work during the holiday period. In the past five years, however, the take-up has been dropping significantly, from 13,500 in 1998 to 4,600 in 2002. This decline reflects the greater and wider availability of alternative and well-paid summer jobs in recent years. In view of that and in light of the financial pressures on my Department, it has been decided to discontinue the scheme. I have, however, requested the area based partnerships to consider alternative measures to assist students from disadvantaged areas in finding suitable summer employment.

The breakdown of students who availed of the student summer jobs scheme in County Offaly since 1993 is as follows. The extra payment for students whose parents were dependent on social welfare was first paid in 1995 for one year only and then again in 2001 and 2002.

Year

Participating students from County Offaly

Students receiving extra payment where parents are dependent on social welfare

1993

64

1994

208

1995

382

79

1996

407

1997

419

1998

397

1999

270

2000

165

2001

110

20

2002

105

37