Unemployment Data

Questions (548)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

548. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will report on the issue of underemployment here; if she will provide the available data relating to same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52023/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Government’s primary strategy to tackle unemployment is to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. The economy is recovering strongly and will underpin employment growth and the availability of productive work for those on the Live Register. The Action Plan for Jobs sets out Ireland’s policies in support of enterprise and employment growth. The most recent Pathways to Work strategy, for the period 2016-2020, continues to focus on addressing long-term and youth unemployment by introducing new measures to ensure that the long-term and young unemployed take up a substantial share of the jobs being created by economic recovery. The strategy includes some additional actions, which are ongoing or have been completed, in relation to addressing long-term and youth unemployment:

- the roll out of JobPath to engage more systematically with this group; the JobPath service has provided activation support to over 180,000 long term jobseekers since its inception in 2015. Jobseekers have benefitted from intensive engagement with a personal advisor to assist their return to employment.

- targeted wage subsidies under JobsPlus, including JobsPlus Youth;

- reserved places for the long term unemployed on employment and training programmes. (Latest available data indicates that approximately 55,000 people are availing of a range of activation programmes targeted primarily at the long term unemployed);

- the continued provision of activation services to the long term unemployed by Local Employment Services and Jobclubs. In 2018, 26,000 customers have engaged with these services; and

- the launch of the Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) targeted specifically at young jobseekers who are long-term unemployed or who face significant barriers to gaining employment. YESS provides young jobseekers with the opportunity to learn basic work and social skills in a supportive environment while on a work placement, helping them to increase their employment prospects.

Latest available data from the CSO Labour Force Survey shows that the number of persons recorded as working part-time, but underemployed, was 115,800 in the third quarter of 2018, representing a decrease of 4.5% in year on year terms from the third quarter of 2017. This cohort currently represent approximately 4.8% of the total labour force (2.417m).

Ireland’s Public Employment Service (PES) is managed by my Department and delivered directly by the Intreo service to provide a range of activation and employment support services to those who wish to avail of its services, on a walk-in basis. It is a priority of my Department to deliver the necessary supports and innovations to facilitate a fair chance to gain work, particularly full-time work, as more and more jobs become available.

November 2018 saw a continued trend downwards in the number of people on the Live Register to 196,261 – representing a year on year decrease of 15.8% since November 2017, and a decrease of almost 30% over a two year period.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Live Register total recorded a monthly decrease of 3,100 people (-1.5%) in November 2018, bringing the seasonally adjusted total to 207,200. The number on the seasonally adjusted Live Register in November 2018 is also the lowest number recorded since May 2008 (when it was 201,756).

The Live Register trend for young people is similar, with the number of claimants aged 18-24 declining from 80,000 in 2011 to approximately 20,000 in November 2018. Since 2011, the month-on-month decline in Live Register numbers has been more rapid for the under 25 year cohort than for those over 25.

Three out of five people on the Live Register are now classified as short term claimants. The number of long term claimants has decreased by almost 34% - to 80,557 – over a two year period.

Many of those who have left the Live Register and returned to work will have been helped to do so by supports from my Department and the buoyant recovery created by government policy to reduce unemployment.

This policy approach, and continuing economic recovery, will build on substantial improvements in the labour market that have been seen over the last few years.

Social Welfare Schemes Data

Questions (549)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

549. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons in each county participating in each of the employment and activation programmes in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52024/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Data on the number of participants in activation programmes is reported on a monthly basis by the Central Statistics Office.  The following table provides the number of participants on activation programmes at the county level in October 2018.

COUNTY

Back to work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA)

Short Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA)

Community Employment (CE) Participants

Back to Education Allowance (BTEA)

Tús*

Carlow

105

1

428

188

134

Cavan

172

6

311

87

120

Clare

226

8

451

173

149

Cork

503

20

1893

349

593

Donegal

350

13

1087

454

367

Dublin

1546

105

4617

1589

1306

Galway

304

20

1291

473

416

Kerry

238

13

970

377

228

Kildare

216

21

807

229

199

Kilkenny

189

5

466

161

98

Laois

143

5

274

158

116

Leitrim

130

4

191

60

77

Limerick

191

15

1131

449

273

Longford

153

1

308

75

103

Louth

275

12

794

355

207

Mayo

224

14

709

239

299

Meath

243

16

490

86

238

Monaghan

87

2

379

71

88

Offaly

167

13

358

198

154

Roscommon

142

4

256

52

72

Sligo

109

1

430

181

147

Tipperary

292

8

805

309

361

Waterford

290

5

703

381

286

Westmeath

198

6

594

167

102

Wexford

261

10

949

233

313

Wicklow

250

9

551

222

259

TOTAL

7004

337

21,243

7839

6705

Northern Ireland/Ireland

-

-

-

-

-

[Table cont]

COUNTY

Gateway*

Part-time Job Incentive

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)

SOLAS Training Programmes

Total

Carlow

0

3

-

100

859

Cavan

0

14

-

128

710

Clare

0

10

-

145

1017

Cork

0

17

-

760

3375

Donegal

0

5

-

278

2276

Dublin

0

57

-

1076

9920

Galway

0

13

-

196

2517

Kerry

0

8

-

242

1834

Kildare

0

9

-

324

1481

Kilkenny

0

4

-

85

923

Laois

1

5

-

84

702

Leitrim

0

8

-

79

470

Limerick

0

7

-

236

2066

Longford

0

10

-

57

650

Louth

0

23

-

246

1666

Mayo

0

4

-

90

1489

Meath

0

6

-

144

1079

Monaghan

0

7

-

79

634

Offaly

0

4

-

79

894

Roscommon

0

2

-

130

528

Sligo

0

11

-

95

879

Tipperary

1

30

-

243

1806

Waterford

0

12

-

310

1677

Westmeath

0

8

-

201

1075

Wexford

0

6

-

212

1772

Wicklow

0

0

-

110

1291

TOTAL

2

283

-

5729

49,142

Northern Ireland/Ireland

-

-

-

111

111***

5,000**

-

54,257

*Tús and Gateway figures are based on participant’s home address; other figures are by office location. Gateway is now closed to new applications.

**County figures for VTOS are not currently available

***A number of participants in SOLAS training schemes have home addresses in Northern Ireland or are recorded under a generic “Ireland”

Activation programmes form part of the Government’s overall policy to reduce unemployment.  First, through policies set out in the Action Plan for Jobs, to create an environment in which business can succeed and create jobs; and second, through Pathways to Work to ensure that as many of these new jobs and other vacancies that arise in our economy are filled by people taken from the Live Register, and in particular the long-term unemployed.

These policies have shown positive results, with unemployment falling from over 15% in 2012 to 5.3% in November 2018.  Demand for places on a number of activation programmes has thus fallen in line with the overall reduction in unemployment. 

I am confident that policy to reduce unemployment, together with continuing economic recovery, will build on significant improvements in the labour market seen in recent years.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Questions (550)

Bobby Aylward

Question:

550. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position regarding contractual, pay and pension concerns raised by community employment scheme supervisors; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52033/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

As the Deputy is probably aware Community Employment (CE) scheme supervisors are employees of private companies in the community and voluntary sector that receive public funding. They are not employees of my Department or public servants, and as such were not subject to pay reductions under the provisions of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) which only applied to public servants. My Department funds wages and training costs in respect of CE participants and supervisors – it does not and has not provided provision for funding for CE supervisor pensions.

On foot of the Labour Court recommendation, the issue of CE supervisor pensions is being examined by a Community Sector High Level Forum, chaired by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. A number of Departments, including my own Department, are represented on this group, as are the unions and Pobal.

A detailed scoping exercise was carried out with input from the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) on the potential costs of providing Exchequer support for the establishment of such a pension scheme for employees across the Community and Voluntary sector in Ireland. The exercise clearly illustrated that this matter presents very significant issues for the Exchequer, with a potential cost to the State of €188 million per annum in respect of funding to enable an employer pension contribution in State funded Community and Voluntary organisations, excluding any provision for immediate ex-gratia lump sum payment of pension as sought, which could, depending on the size of the sector, entail a further Exchequer cost of up to €318 million.

I am very conscious that any provision of State funding for such a scheme in respect of those employees could potentially give rise to claims for similar schemes on the part of those in the broader sector, thus crystallising the potential level of liability. Any solution to this issue will require careful consideration, in particular the implications for scarce Exchequer resources.

Irish Sign Language

Questions (551)

Clare Daly

Question:

551. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the progress made to enact the Irish Sign Language Act 2017. [52035/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Irish Sign Language Act, 2017 was signed into law in December 2017 and recognises Irish Sign Language as a native and independent language.

Section 9 of the Irish Sign Language Act, 2017 provides that the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection may, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas, provide funds to  facilitate users of Irish Sign Language to access social, educational, and cultural events and services (including medical) and other activities as specified in guidelines made by the Minister.

The Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS), which is mainly funded by the Citizens Information Board(CIB) has prepared draft guidelines for how such a scheme might operate and these guidelines have been submitted to CIB and are under active consideration.

When CIB have completed this task, the guidelines will be submitted to me for approval, as is required under the provisions of the Act. Once approved, a scheme will be piloted by SLIS and the outcome of the pilot will inform further more detailed proposals and revised guidelines, as may be required, which will, in turn, inform future annual funding requirements for such a scheme.

Social Welfare Schemes Data

Questions (552)

John Brady

Question:

552. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons in receipt of carer's allowance and carer's benefit in each of the years 2016, 2017 and to date in 2018. [52039/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the tabular statement.

The number of persons in receipt of carer's allowance and carer's benefit at 31 December 2016 and 2017 and at 30 November 2018.

Number of recipients 

Carer's Allowance 

Carer's Benefit

31 December 2016

 70,459

 2,710

31 December 2017

 75,264

 2,762

30 November 2018

 79,545

 2,705

Social Welfare Schemes Data

Questions (553)

John Brady

Question:

553. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of applications received for carer's allowance and carer's benefit in 2017 and to date in 2018; and the number of these applications which have been approved and refused, respectively. [52040/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the following tabular statement.

PleaseI note that 'claims awarded' and 'claims rejected' refer to the total number of claims awarded or rejected in each period, and may include claim decisions in respect of claims made in previous periods.

Equally, 'claims registered' includes claims which are still pending award at the end of each period.

The number of applications for carer's allowance and carer's benefit  registered, awarded and rejected in 2017 and to date in 2018

Carer's Allowance

Registered

Awarded

Rejected

2017

23,800

17,290

8,599

30 November 2018

19,060

16,042

8,722

Carer's Benefit

Registered

Awarded

Rejected

2017

3,590

2,605

620

Jan-Nov 2018

3,833

2,577

941

Social Welfare Schemes Data

Questions (554)

John Brady

Question:

554. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of appeals lodged following decisions to refuse carer's allowance and carer's benefit in 2017 and to date in 2018. [52041/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

The following table below provide details of appeal receipts for carer’s allowance and carer’s benefit in 2017 and 2018 as requested by the Deputy.

 

Carer’s Allowance

Appeal Receipts

Carer’s Benefit

Appeal Receipts

2017

3,200

110

2018   (to 30/11/2018)

2,777

153

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (555, 556, 557)

John Lahart

Question:

555. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of women and men, respectively, employed in her Department and in the agencies under the remit of her Department in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52054/18]

View answer

John Lahart

Question:

556. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the various grades in which males and females are employed in her Department and in the agencies under the remit of her Department in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52071/18]

View answer

John Lahart

Question:

557. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the ratio of males to females employed in her Department and in the agencies under the remit of her Department in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52088/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 555 to 557, inclusive, together.

The Government are implementing transformational reforms under the Civil Service Renewal agenda. A key commitment in the Civil Service Renewal Plan is to maximise the contribution of all staff, by nurturing and rewarding talent and by encouraging civil servants to develop their potential in a workplace committed to equality and diversity. The gender balance policy measures have been endorsed by the Government and are framed around practical HR and organisational considerations. Measures such as a target of 50/50 gender balance in appointments at senior levels are now in place.

The following tables provide the number of male and female officers (full time equivalents) in my Department and its agencies broken down by grade. The ratio of female to male officers for each grade is also provided.

Table 1: DEASP end October

Grade

Female FTE

Male FTE

Ratio F:M

Secretary General

0.00

1.00

0.00 : 1.00

Deputy Secretary

1.00

0.00

1.00 : 0.00

Assistant Secretary

5.00

5.00

1.00 : 1.00

Principal Officer

18.80

38.60

1.00 : 2.05

Medical Assessors

19.10

9.00

2.12 : 1.00

Assistant Principal

122.03

156.35

1.00 : 1.28

Administrative Officer

8.55

16.00

1.00 : 1.87

Higher Executive Officer

954.18

536.19

1.78 : 1.00

Executive Officer

976.17

453.94

2.15 : 1.00

Clerical Officer

1946.97

575.90

3.38 : 1.00

Services Officer

18.65

128.10

1.00 : 6.87

Total

4070.45

1920.08

Table 2: Pensions Authority

Grade

Female

Male

Ratio F:M

CEO

0

1

0.00 : 1.00

Principal Officer

3

4

1.00 : 1.33

Assistant Principal

12

5

2.40 : 1.00

Higher Executive Officer

12

4

3.00 : 1.00

Executive Officer

11

3

3.66 : 1.00

Clerical Officer

7

1

7.00 : 1.00

Total

45

18

Table 3: Citizens Information Board

Grade

Female

Male

Ratio F:M

PO Director

1

0

1.00 : 0.00

Principal Officer

2

2

1.00 : 1.00

Assistant Principal

7

5

1.40 : 1.00

Higher Executive Officer

26

12

2.17 : 1.00

Executive Officer

7

2

3.50 : 1.00

Clerical Officer

4

0

4.00 : 0.00

Services Officer

1

0

1.00 : 0.00

G III

6

0

6.00 : 0.00

G IV

8

1

8.00 : 1.00

G V

0

1

0.00 : 1.00

G VI

0

1

0.00 : 1.00

Cleaner

1

0

1.00 : 0.00

Agencies

3

1

3.00 : 1.00

Total

66

25

Departmental Bodies

Questions (558)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

558. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of the work of the Labour Market Council in 2017 and 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52168/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Labour Market Council was established in September 2013 to support and advise the Government on the implementation of the Pathways to Work Strategy and wider policy issues relating to the agenda of supporting long-term unemployed in their return to work. The Council met on 28 occasions.

Membership of the Council comprised of industry, trade union and policy experts appointed on the basis of their knowledge of labour market and employment policy.  The Council in particular focused on providing advice regarding the evaluation  of the impact, effectiveness and efficiency of measures implemented as part of the Pathways to Work strategy, and other relevant labour market policies aimed at supporting unemployed individuals to access employment.  It also provided policy advice on all matters concerning the delivery, engagement and awareness of employer supports in relation to the implementation of Pathways to Work, my Department’s Employer Engagement Strategy and other relevant labour market policies aimed at supporting unemployed individuals and other priority groups to access employment, while meeting the requirements of employers and the business community.

Given the fact that unemployment is now at 5.3% the challenge faced by the Department is changing from primarily responding to unemployment to increasing participation. In this regard the Department continues to engage with relevant stakeholders to inform its approach to developing its public employment services, with an emphasis on maintaining a quality service not just to unemployed jobseekers but increasingly to other client groups of the Department, including people with disabilities.  For example, the Department as part of the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities, established a Make Work Pay Inter-Departmental Group chaired by Professor Frances Ruane comprising representatives from key Departments, agencies and three independent experts. This group reported in 2017 and its recommendations are now being followed up including via a consultative forum of key stakeholders.

Separately, the Minister for Education and Skills established the National Skills Council in April 2017. This council is charged with ensuring that Ireland can anticipate and respond to current, future and rapidly changing skills needs across all sectors in the labour market  while developing and retaining workplace talent.  Membership of the National Skills Council is, as was the case with the Labour Market Council, representative of the key stakeholders with interest in labour market developments. The Department is represented on this council.

Against this background the Department is currently considering what consultative structures would be useful that will add value to its work in developing public employment services.

Money Advice and Budgeting Service Funding

Questions (559)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

559. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason funding for the dedicated mortgage arrears programme is confirmed only until mid-February 2019; if long-term funding for the service which supports those who face mortgage difficulties will be provided; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52169/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS), under the aegis of the Citizens Information Board, (CIB)  provides assistance to people, in particular those on low incomes or living on social welfare payments, who are over-indebted and need help and advice with debt problems.  As part of its free services, MABS provides help and advice to those in mortgage arrears. 

The role of MABS was expanded in 2015 with the establishment of a Dedicated Mortgage Arrears MABS service (DMA MABS) across the MABS network, to help people specifically with home mortgage arrears.  Specialist DMA advisors are working across 27 locations countrywide, assisting borrowers to assess the options available to them and, where required, negotiating with lenders on their behalf.  To date, the DMA service has helped over 6,000 such borrowers. 

In 2018, over €2m has been allocated to CIB to fund the DMA service. Provision has been made for an allocation of €2.5 million for the DMA service as part of CIB's overall funding allocation for 2019 and this is expected to meet the costs of the service to the end of 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Money Advice and Budgeting Service Data

Questions (560)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

560. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of Abhaile scheme vouchers which have been issued since the introduction of the scheme by county, in tabular form. [52170/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Abhaile service, is a national mortgage arrears resolution service, provided free of charge to the borrower and its aim is to help mortgage holders in arrears to find the best solutions and keep them, wherever possible, in their own homes.  The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) acts as the gateway for the service and can be contacted by telephoning (0761)07 2000 or by accessing their website at: www.mabs.ie/abhaile.

Under Abhaile, borrowers who are insolvent and in home mortgage arrears on their home, are provided with voucher(s) to access independent expert financial and/or legal advice and assistance, best suited to their individual home mortgage arrears situation.  As at the beginning of December 2018, 14,620 vouchers for services have issued, in respect of 7,777 principal private residences. A breakdown of vouchers issued by county, is set out in the following table.

County

Number of Abhaile Vouchers Issued as at Dec 2018

Carlow

365

Cavan

467

Clare

319

Cork

1,674

Donegal

310

Dublin

2,337

Galway

756

Kerry

295

Kildare

757

Kilkenny

263

Laois

260

Leitrim

133

Limerick

395

Longford

267

Louth

1,022

Mayo

362

Meath

1,248

Monaghan

334

Offaly

368

Roscommon

224

Sligo

147

Tipperary

509

Waterford

437

Westmeath 

386

Wexford

570

Wicklow

415

Total

14,620

Youth Employment Initiative

Questions (561)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

561. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of young persons who have commenced participation on the youth employment support scheme to date in 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52171/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) was introduced on Monday 1st October 2018 and has been open to application since that date. 

 A total of 65 participants have commenced the scheme to date.

YESS is targeted at young jobseekers aged between 18 and 24 who are long-term unemployed or who face barriers to employment. The scheme aims to provide jobseekers with the opportunity to learn basic work and social skills in a supportive environment while on a work placement. The scheme will provide a supportive structure for participants, including case worker support for both Placement Hosts and jobseekers.

 I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. 

Social Welfare Schemes Data

Questions (562)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

562. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of beneficiaries for each social welfare payment who are entitled and not entitled, respectively, to the Christmas bonus in 2018, in tabular form. [52172/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Christmas Bonus was paid last week to 1.2 million long-term social welfare beneficiaries, such as pensioners, carers, people with disabilities, lone parents and long-term unemployed jobseekers, among others.  For the first time in 10 years, the Bonus was paid at 100%.  The Bonus is paid in recognition of the long-term financial dependence of these recipients on their weekly payment for all or most of their income. 

Payment of the Bonus this year was based on the same eligibility requirements as in previous years.  Some payments, namely Jobseeker's Allowance, Supplementary Welfare Allowance, Back to Education Allowance and Daily Expenses Allowance, have a duration requirement of 15 months in order to be eligible for the Bonus.  As in previous years, the Bonus is not paid to short-term schemes, such as Jobseeker's Benefit or Illness Benefit. 

The following table sets out the information requested by the Deputy, including the estimated number of weekly social welfare recipients not entitled to the Bonus payment in December.  It should be noted that the table does not include monthly and annual payments that are not eligible for the Bonus, such as Child Benefit and Carer's Support Grant.

Scheme  

Estimated Number of Eligible Recipients 

Estimated Number of Ineligible Recipients

  

 

 

State Pension Non-Contributory

94,900

0

Jobseeker's Allowance*

111,680

33,504

One-Parent Family Payment

39,455

0

Widow(er)s' Pension (non-con)

1,385

0

Deserted Wife's Allowance

110

0

Supplementary Welfare Allowance*

4,400

12,370

Daily Expenses Allowance (formerly Direct Provision Allowance)*

1,950

1,240

Farm Assist

6,645

0

Community Employment

21,465

0

Rural Social Scheme

3,030

0

Tús

6,380

0

Job Initiative

720

0

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

9,860

0

Back to Education Allowance*

8,390

839

Back to Work Family Dividend

7,050

0

Disability Allowance

141,450

0

Blind Pension

1,205

0

Carer's Allowance

78,715

0

Domiciliary Care Allowance**

38,810

0

Guardian's Payment (non-con)

545

0

Working Family Payment

 0

 53,732

Magdalene Commission Scheme

405

0

Subtotal Assistance

578,900

101,685

 

 

 

State Pension (Contributory)

428,025

0

Widow(er)s' Surviving Civil Partners Pension (Con)

121,320

0

Occupational Injuries Death Benefit

730

0

Deserted Wife's Benefit

6,180

0

Partial Capacity Benefit

2,485

0

Invalidity Pension

57,290

0

Disablement Benefit

14,280

0

Carer's Benefit

2,755

0

Guardian's Payment (Contributory)

1,155

0

Jobseeker's Benefit

 0

 33,744

Illness Benefit

 0

 53,300

Maternity Benefit

 0

 20,850

Paternity Benefit

 0

 957

Adoptive Benefit

 0

 18

Subtotal Insurance

634,230

108,869

 

 

 

Total Assistance & Insurance

1,213,130

210,554

*15 months duration on eligible social welfare payment or scheme required in order to be eligible for the Bonus.

**Domiciliary Care Allowance is a monthly payment; the Bonus is paid as 100% of a week's equivalent payment.

Jobseeker's Allowance Payments

Questions (563)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

563. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated savings in each of the years 2009 to 2014, in tabular form, arising from the policy decision to reduce the jobseeker's allowance payments to young persons under 26 years of age; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52173/18]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

An age-related reduced rate of €100 per week for Jobseeker's Allowance recipients was introduced in the Supplementary Budget in 2009 in respect of 18 and 19 year olds. Budget 2010 extended the €100 per week rate to 20 and 21 year olds and introduced a new €150 per week rate for 23 and 24 year olds.  Budget 2011 reduced the €150 per week rate to €144 per week and Budget 2014 extended the €144 per week rate to 25 year olds.

In line with other EU and OECD jurisdictions where such measures feature in their social welfare systems, age-related reduced rates of jobseeker’s allowance for young unemployed people were introduced on a phased basis to tackle high youth unemployment. Receiving the maximum rate of JA without a strong financial incentive to engage in education or training can lead to long-term welfare dependency from a young age. In this regard, the most recent data shows that Irish youth unemployment has fallen from a peak of 31.2% in 2012 to 12.3% in November 2018.

The age-related reduced rates are not applicable in certain circumstances, such as where the claimant has a qualified child, is participating in a recognised education or training course, transferred from Disability Allowance or where the person was formerly in State care.

Age-related reduced rates apply to new entrants but not to existing recipients and the rates were also introduced at different times in the year (e.g. the 2009 Supplementary Budget measure took effect from the first week of May 2009).  Accordingly, in calculating estimated savings, certain assumptions are applied.  The estimated savings provided in this response are based on a combination of average Jobseeker’s Allowance recipient numbers in each of the years, estimated proportions of young jobseekers on age-related reduced rates and estimates of savings from the date the Budget measures were introduced.  In this regard, the estimated savings in each of the years 2009-2014 are set out in the following table, as requested by the Deputy.

Year

Estimated Savings €

2009

12.0 million

2010

64.0 million

2011

95.7 million

2012

105.5 million

2013

133.4 million

2014

154.3 million

Back to Education Allowance Applications

Questions (564)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

564. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if consideration will be given to reviewing an application for back to education allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52217/18]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Back to Education Allowance scheme (BTEA) is an educational opportunities scheme for persons in receipt of certain social welfare payments wishing to pursue second or third level courses of education, subject to meeting the qualifying conditions.

The objective is to raise educational and skills levels to enable them to better access to emerging  labour market needs in line with the Government’s activation strategy set out in Pathways to Work.

In order to qualify for BTEA the applicant must satisfy all of the following:

- be a specific age

- be in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment for a specified period of time (strict adherence to this condition must be applied in all cases)

- commencing the first year of a course of study

- the course of study is full-time day for the complete academic year

- leading to a recognised qualification in a recognised college

- is progressing in the levels of education held

- The concerned person was in receipt of a Jobseekers Allowance payment from 24/05/2018 15/09/2018 and made an application for BTEA in Sept 2018.

- On the application form the concerned person stated that she was commencing year 2 of a 4 year course.  She had completed year one of the course from Sept 2017 until May 2018.

- One of the qualifying conditions is that an applicant must be commencing the first year of a course of study.

- As this condition was not satisfied the concerned person was informed of the decision that her application for the Back to Education Allowance scheme was disallowed. The concerned person was advised of her right to have her case reviewed and decided to seek a review. The review was carried out by an experienced officer who was not involved in the original decision. The original decision was upheld.

I trust that this clarified the matter for the Deputy, 

Wind Energy Guidelines

Questions (565)

Michael Harty

Question:

565. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the criteria which limit the proximity of a wind farm to the nearest occupied residence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52134/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Noise and visual amenity setback distances are the primary criteria in determining the minimum distance between a wind farm and the nearest residences. The current criteria in this regard are set out in the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines. My Department is currently undertaking a focused review of the 2006 Guidelines which, in addition to reviewing the noise and setback distance requirements, is also reviewing other key aspects including shadow flicker, community obligations on developers, community dividend and grid connections.

As part of the overall review, a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is being undertaken on the revised Guidelines before they come into effect, in accordance with the requirements of EU Directive 2001/24/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment, otherwise known as the SEA Directive.

SEA is a process by which environmental considerations are required to be fully integrated into the preparation of plans and programmes which act as frameworks for development consent, prior to their final adoption, with public consultation as part of that process.  It is expected that a public consultation on the revised draft Guidelines, together with the comprehensive environmental report under the SEA process, will be commenced in early 2019, with the aim of issuing the finalised Guidelines, following detailed analysis and consideration of the submissions and views received during the consultation phase, in mid-2019.

When finalised, the revised Guidelines will be issued under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000.  Planning authorities and, where applicable, An Bord Pleanála must have regard to guidelines issued under section 28 in the performance of their functions generally under the Planning Acts.  In the meantime, the current 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines remain in force.

Rental Sector Strategy

Questions (566, 567, 575)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

566. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the type of cost rental model he is examining; if there are pilot projects; if so, when the results of same will be reviewed and published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51518/18]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

567. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if rent caps will be placed on cost rental models being examined by his Department and local authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51519/18]

View answer

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

575. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the interest rate and maturity of a loan (details supplied) secured for the cost rental housing project at a location in Dublin 8; and if the loan will be for the construction of just the cost rental units or all units, that is, social rental and cost rental in the development. [51573/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 566, 567 and 575 together.

Acknowledging that renters in Dublin and other urban centres are currently facing significant access and affordability challenges, the Government is committed to the introduction of a not-for-profit, cost rental sector in Ireland. Together with delivering more affordable and predictable rents, cost rental will make a sustainable impact on national competitiveness and the attractiveness of our main urban centres as places to live and work. 

As laid out in the National Planning Framework, the Government is planning for an expected population increase of almost one million people by 2040. This growth will necessitate the delivery of some 500,000 new homes over the next 20 years. The State will be proactive in contributing to the delivery of the housing that we need by 2040 and cost rental will need to form a significant part of Ireland's housing system in the future.

Under the cost rental model, minimising retained earnings, land and other delivery costs, while securing very competitive European Investment Bank (EIB) financing, means that affordable rents can be achieved. The final rents, for any given project, will be set after all associated costs are determined, following on from the competitive construction and management tender processes. Cost rental homes will be targeted at households earning low to moderate incomes up to a maximum of €50,000 for single applicants and €75,000 for dual applicants.

Cost rental is new to Ireland and in order to drive delivery, a number of important early mover projects are being advanced, delivering important lessons in terms of cost rental in an Irish setting. There are two pilot cost rental schemes being advanced: one at Enniskerry Road, in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, and one at Emmet Road in Inchicore. It is expected that 50 cost rental units and 105 social homes will be made available on the Enniskerry Road site. While the final tenure-mix on the Emmet Road site will be decided by Dublin City Council and informed by the detailed site development process, it will likely include 140 social housing homes, with the remaining 330 homes predominantly provided by the City Council under cost rental arrangements. 

The tenders are currently being assessed for the Enniskerry Road Project, and it is anticipated that construction will commence in the first quarter of 2019. With regard to the Emmet Road site, while this project is at an earlier stage of development, Dublin City Council has appointed a dedicated project manager and a project team to drive the project forward. In addition to pre-existing consultative arrangements, the Council is also facilitating a special Consultative Forum specifically for this project.

Cost rental will initially be managed on an administrative basis, and my Department is preparing a draft administrative cost rental framework in collaboration with the Housing Agency and the local authorities involved in the pilot projects. The invaluable learning from these pathfinder projects will inform further cost rental projects to be rolled out across other suitable sites. My Department is also working with the European Investment Bank to leverage its advisory and research capacity so that broader international lessons on the operation of cost rental can inform Ireland's approach.

With regard to the funding and financing arrangements, I have made it clear that direct Exchequer funding will be provided for any social housing element of these mixed-tenure developments. Indeed, part of the Emmet Road site has been identified as a “Housing with Support” demonstrator model under Rebuilding Ireland and will deliver 52 homes, due for completion in 2020. This element of the Emmet Road project has been approved for funding of circa €15 million under my Department’s Capital Assistance Scheme, with a contribution of €450,000 from the HSE/Department of Health towards additional communal facilities for the residents.

Furthermore, the Government has made €310m available to local authorities to fund facilitating infrastructure to deliver affordable housing from its sites. The funding is available for cost rental projects and will contribute to reducing costs even further.  The terms of any loan funding arrangements put in place for individual projects will be determined on a case by case basis.

My Department is also engaging with the National Development Finance Agency and the new Land Development Agency to examine the optimum funding and delivery options to support cost rental delivery at scale.