Thursday, 14 November 2019

Ceisteanna (72, 87, 88)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

72. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funds allocated to Ireland over the 2014 to 2020 period and expended in each year to date; the breakdown between Exchequer funding and EU funding (details supplied), in tabular form. [47067/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

87. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount allocated to Ireland under the European Social Fund under the MFF programme 2014 to 2020 and in the proposed 2021 to 2027 MFF programme, in tabular form. [47066/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

88. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount allocated to Ireland under the European Social Fund education and training, Erasmus PRO and the youth employment initiative budget for the 2014 to 2020 period (details supplied), in tabular form. [47068/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Following the allocation of an additional €2m funding as part of the mid-term Review of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework, the ESF co-financed Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) for the period 2014-2020 contains a total budget of €1.157 billion.  This budget comprises ESF and Exchequer contributions of €544.516m each and an EU Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) budget contribution of €68.145m. The specific YEI funding allocation for Ireland of €68m is matched by equal amounts from our ESF allocation and from the Exchequer, giving an overall allocation of €204m. The annual programme allocations for the years 2014-2020, are set out in the following table:

Year

ESF Allocation €

YEI Allocation €

Exchequer Allocation €

Total €

2014

72,960,638

38,283,943

72,960,638

184,205,219

2015

74,421,358

29,861,476

74,421,358

178,704,193

2016

75,911,109

0

75,911,109

151,822,218

2017

77,934,839

0

77,934,839

155,869,678

2018

79,494,537

0

79,494,537

158,989,074

2019

81,085,397

0

81,085,397

162,170,794

2020

82,707,948

0

82,707,948

165,415,896

Total

544,515,826

68,145,419

544,515,826

1,157,177,071

The ESF PEIL funds a range of over 20 specific activities which are implemented across a range of bodies, under 4 main priorities (in addition to technical assistance) as follows:

Priority 1: Promoting the attainment of sustainable and quality employment through relevant upskilling measures and supporting labour mobility.

Priority 2: Promoting Social Inclusion and combating discrimination in the labour market

Priority 3: Investing in Education, Training and Life Long Learning with a view to upskilling and re-skilling the labour force

Priority 4: Youth Employment Initiative.

While Priority 1 and 4 contain employment and training activities, such as Traineeships under the ETB Training for the Unemployed activity and the Springboard activity in Priority 1 and Jobsplus and the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance under Priority 4, the PEIL does not provide any funding for apprenticeships.  The ESF Managing Authority and the Operational Programme Monitoring Committee (PMC) maintain an ongoing overview of the funding allocations under the PEIL and re-allocate the available funding as required, in accordance with the EU Regulatory provisions, over the lifetime of the PEIL.

All PEIL approved activities are fully funded up-front by the Exchequer, with the EU (ESF/YEI) funding being claimed in arrears.  The EU Regulations provide that the Commission will decommit any part of the amount in an OP that hasn’t been used for payment of initial and annual pre-financing and interim payments by 31st December of the 3rd year following the year of budget commitment under the OP or for which a payment application has not been submitted. As Ireland’s OP was approved in 2015, the budget commitments for 2014 fell to 2015 and had to be claimed by end 2018.  Following the designation of the Irish authorities in 2018, payment applications in respect of €221m were submitted to the Commission in 2018.  Further payment applications in respect of €142m were submitted by end June 2019 across the priorities as set out in the following table.

ESF €m

YEI €m

Exchequer €m

Total €m

Payment Applications 2018 €m

Payment Applications June 2019 €m

Total Payment Applications €m

Priority

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

209.864

 

 

419.728

0

137.36

137.36

2

148.808

 

148.808

297.616

14.51

0

14.51

3

107.699

 

107.699

215.397

93.87

0

93.87

4

68.145

 68.145

68.145

204.436

112.25

4.75

117

5

10.00

 

10.00 

20.00 

0

0

0

Total

544.516

68.145

544.516

1157.177

220.63

142.11

362.74

Payment applications for a further €180m are currently being finalised for submission to the Commission shortly.  This will bring the total amount claimed to some €540m, representing some 47% of the OP value, by the end of the year.

The European Commission published its proposals on the Post 2020 MFF in May 2018. Ireland’s indicative allocation of EU co-finance for the forthcoming 2021-2027 ESF+ programme is €579 million in current prices. This includes other funds which are being merged with the ESF under the proposed ESF+ regulation, namely the YEI and the Fund for European Aid for the Most Deprived (FEAD). For comparison the below table details the ESF, YEI and FEAD allocations in the 2014-2020 period and the proposed ESF+ allocation for 2021-2027.

ESF Allocation PEIL 2014-2020 €

YEI Allocation 2014-2020 €

FEAD Allocation 2014-2020 €

ESF+ Allocation 2021-2027 (includes FEAD and YEI) €

544,515,826

68,145,419

22,766,327

579,000,000

These figures are indicative as the negotiations on the MFF are continuing with the Finnish presidency due to submit a negotiation box with MFF figures ahead of the next European Council meeting in December 2019.

The ErasmusPRO initiative was introduced to boost long term mobility for VET learners. ErasmusPRO was formally announced on 5 October 2017 and first included within the Erasmus+ Call for Proposals for 2018. Therefore financial figures are only available for 2018 and 2019. In both of these years, Léargas has issued two calls for applications for funding, one in February and one in October. The allocations to Ireland under the Erasmus PRO programme are as follows:

2018 (Actual allocation)

2019 (Estimate allocation)

(2020 Projected allocation)

ErasmusPRO*

€0.5M

€0.7M

€0.8M

*Note the figures have been rounded

In 2018, the overall funding (under both calls) allocated to Erasmus+ Key Action 1 VET Mobility was €3.8m; of this, €0.5m was allocated to ErasmusPRO.  2019 figures have not been finalised since funding amounts have not yet been confirmed under the second call in October. However, the estimate is that by the end of 2019, the total for both calls will be approx. €5.2m allocated to KA1 VET Mobility, of which approx. €0.7m will be allocated to ErasmusPRO.  At present, the projected allocation for Erasmus+ KA1 VET Mobility in 2020 is €5.9m; based on figures in 2018 and 2019, Léargas would expect approx. €0.8m to be allocated to ErasmusPRO.