Written Answers. - Community Employment Schemes.

Noel Ahern

Ceist:

69 Mr. N. Ahern asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will examine the situation in relation to community employment schemes for limited disadvantaged areas and allow persons over 55 or 60 to remain on the schemes up to age 65 and to have up to ten years continuous service; if she will allow young women to remain on the same scheme for two years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10366/00]

I have no plans at present to introduce the changes you suggest as to do so might unfairly disadvantage other categories of participants on community employment schemes. The primary purpose of CE as an active labour market measure is to reintegrate long-term unemployed persons into open labour market jobs. The Deloitte & Touche evaluation of CE, undertaken in 1998, set a framework for a reform of the programme for the years ahead. It recommended that there should be a reduction in participation on the programme over time, as well as a range of other reforms aimed at enhancing its effectiveness. The restructuring of CE, which was approved by Government in July 1999 and was based on the recommendations of Deloitte & Touche, is set against a background of significant employment growth and unemployment reductions and is aimed at securing better targeting and outcomes from the programme.

It will be necessary to monitor the effectiveness of the newly introduced changes to the programme in the context of the overall objectives of CE before considering any further amendments to the programme.