Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (265, 298)

Finian McGrath

Question:

265. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding training allowances (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22873/14]

View answer

Thomas Pringle

Question:

298. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans for the restitution of the additional training allowance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23272/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 265 and 298 together.

The payment of an additional training allowance of €31.80 per week for the long term unemployed was introduced during a period of high employment levels as an incentive for the long term unemployed to participate in FÁS (now SOLAS) training courses. The payment of this allowance was later extended to those persons in receipt of social welfare disability payments to introduce equality of treatment for all people in training.

The payment was reduced from €31.80 per week to €20 per week as part of Budget 2011. In the present economic situation this incentive is no longer considered appropriate and as part of Budget 2014 it was decided to cease this payment for all SOLAS participants commencing courses after 1 January 2014. This change does not apply to persons who commenced a course prior to January 2014 who will continue to receive the long term unemployed bonus payment for the duration of their course. Travel supports continue to be available to SOLAS participants. This is a decision taken in the context of the overall savings this Department had to find for 2014 and future years. It was taken against a difficult budgetary background and there is no scope to re-visit it.