Written Answers. - Summer Jobs Scheme.

Simon Coveney

Question:

166 Mr. Coveney asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of students in County Kerry who participated in the student summer jobs 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. [3795/03]

The students' 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 European Union and students found it difficult during the holiday period to obtain work. 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 the above 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 scheme in County Kerry since 1993 is as shown below. 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.

Students Participating in Students' Summer Jobs Scheme in County Kerry from 1993 to 2002

Year

Participating students

Students receiving extra payment where parents are dependent on SW

1993

204

1994

391

1995

771

188

1996

970

1997

1,093

1998

992

1999

738

2000

493

2001

452

107

2002

468

131

Question No. 167 answered with Question No. 96.