Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Questions (171)

Tom Fleming


171. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection the plans she has in place to address long-term unemployment in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10686/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

In January of this year, there 16,825 persons signing on the Live Register in Kerry, of which 36% (5,983) were long-term registrants.

Long-term unemployment is a primary focus of the Government’s activation policy both in Kerry and nationally. In the first instance, the Government’s primary strategy to tackle long-term unemployment is to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. Economic recovery will underpin jobs growth, thus reducing unemployment.

In addition to promoting economic recovery, the Government recognises the need for interim measures to support the long-term unemployed and keep jobseekers close to the labour market. These initiatives are being rolled out in all areas across the country including Kerry. Details of these initiatives have already been outlined in answers to earlier Parliamentary questions relating to long-term unemployment policies at the national level.

With regard to specific initiatives for the long-term unemployed in Kerry, North Kerry employers have recently been invited to a Business Breakfast organised by DSP to be held in Tralee on Wednesday March 13. An event in Killarney, for South Kerry Employers will follow at a later date.

During this initiative, employers will be provided with information on Government initiatives, existing and newly announced in the Action Plan for Jobs. This will include information on incentives available to encourage employers recruit from the pool of long term unemployed claimants.

This Business Breakfast will brief Employers and Employers Representatives in order to overcome any previous lack of knowledge of incentives for employers to recruit long-term unemployed, and in particular, the recently announced JobsPlus initiative, which will replace Revenue Job Assist and the Employers PRSI Exemption scheme in the second half of this year.