Written Answers. - Community Employment Statistics.

Noel Ahern

Ceist:

598 Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment the current number of persons on community employment schemes broken down between single people, married people or couples in a common law relationship and lone parents and deserted wives; the reason the schemes seem to have an ever-growing number of lone parents; the reason single and married people are discriminated against in that lone parents benefit more financially; if he will provide data on the financial benefits to each category over their social welfare equivalent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16792/96]

Data on the marital status of participants on community employment is not available as such information is not required to determine either eligibility of potential participants or payment of allowances to participants. The following table outlines the number of CE participants in respect of each eligibility category at the end of August 1996:

Unemployment Benefit

4,242

Unemployment Assistance

28,650

Lone Parents

5,087

Special Categories such as Referrals by the NRB etc.

1,015

All eligible categories for the programme are treated equally in so far as the payment of CE allowances are concerned. Participants receive a personal allowance which is pitched at a slightly higher rate to the personal rate on unemployment benefit assistance in order to provide an incentive for unemployed people to participate in the programme. In addition they can also qualify for an additional allowance in respect of an adult dependant and or dependent children if they either had or would qualify for such an allowance under their previous social welfare claim. Current allowances for CE participants are as follows:

£

Participant without dependant

83.75

Participant with an adult dependant

£120.35

Each child dependant (full rate)

13.20

Each child dependant (half rate)

6.60

However, the Deputy may be referring to the fact that lone parents are allowed retain a portion of their social welfare entitlement on a means tested basis by the Department of Social Welfare, when they participate in CE or obtain mainstream employment. This of course is a matter for the Minister for Social Welfare.
The number of lone parents on CE at the end of August 1996 was 5,087 and represents 13 per cent of the total number of participants as against 4 per cent at the end of 1994. The main reasons for the growth in the number of lone parents on CE would be as follows:
— lone parents only became eligible for participation in CE in April 1994.
— There has been a significant rise in the number of lone parents between April 1994 and August 1996.
— Sponsors such as lone parents network groups etc. have become more successful with the passage of time in putting together projects suitable for take-up by lone parents, many of which would incorporate a child minding facility.