Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (519)

Michael Healy-Rae


519. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in view of the budget reduction for some of the local development companies and the implications for staff employed by these companies; if it is his intention to put in place funds to allow for redundancy payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31753/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

There are 51 Local Development Companies (LDCs) contracted, on my Department’s behalf to deliver the Local Community Development Programme (LCDP) and the Leader elements of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 (RDP) throughout the country. The Local Development Companies (LDCs) are independent companies with their own board of management and memoranda and articles of association. My Department has no role in the internal operations of LDCs and, therefore, does not have a role in relation to staff or employment matters, which are for the Board of the company, as the employer, to manage.

The objective of the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP) is to tackle poverty and social exclusion through partnership and constructive engagement between Government, and its agencies, and people in disadvantaged communities. It is a key tool of Government in providing supports for the ‘harder to reach’ in the most disadvantaged areas and communities. The funding provided under the LCDP may, however, be used towards statutory redundancy costs in certain circumstances. Also, the Department has made a separate Technical Assistance Budget available on two previous occasions, in 2009 and 2011, to fund statutory redundancy costs arising within the Local and Community Development Programme.

In the context of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) each Local Development Company is permitted to spend 20% of its total Programme expenditure on administration and overhead costs including any employment related overheads. There is no additional funding allocation outside of this to cover administration costs and in the context of the RDP there are no plans to introduce any further funds at this time.

However the Government recognises that like all other sectors of our economy, the community and voluntary sector has had to deal with reduced funding and financial shortages in recent years. Issues have arisen around the capacity of the sector to pay redundancy payments. The Government is considering a cash limited scheme to address this issue. Discussions between my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform are on-going in that regard and an appropriate memorandum will be brought to Government in due course. Pending a Government decision, provision for a redundancy support scheme for the sector has been made in the Revised Estimates for 2013.