The Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP) is one of my Department's main social inclusion programmes. The objective of the 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. €47.707 million is being provided in the 2014 indicative allocation for the Local and Community Development Programme, a reduction of €1million or 2% on the 2013 allocation, the smallest reduction to the Programme since 2010.
In allocating resources in the prevailing stringent budgetary situation, I am particularly conscious of the need to support funding levels for the LCDP, to ensure that resources are allocated in the fairest way possible and to make the maximum contribution to job creation and economic recovery. In our current economic circumstances and with high levels of unemployment, the LCDP is more relevant than ever as it creates employment opportunities and gives those most distant from the labour market the skills to access training and jobs. The Programme provides employment supports, training, personal development/capacity building and other supports for the harder to reach in the most disadvantaged areas in society. The funding provided in 2014 will be used to increase access to formal and informal educational activities and resources, and to increase people's work readiness and employment prospects. For example, some 14,000 people who are distanced from the labour market will receive direct one-to one labour market training and supports through the Programme in 2014.
I provided €2 million in capital funding for RAPID in 2013, which is being used to meet my Department's existing contractual commitments on RAPID projects, mainly Sports Capital top-ups and CCTV systems, jointly funded with the Departments of Transport, Tourism and Sport and Justice and Equality respectively. The capital allocation for RAPID for 2014 is €1.9million, a reduction of 5%.
The LCDP and RAPID programmes will in future be overseen by new Local Community Development Committees which are to be established in each Local Authority area as part of the reforms set out in Putting People First – Action Plan for Effective Local Government with the objective of bringing greater co-ordination on an area basis to publicly – funded programmes.